Credits to my roommate, Joy, and fellow teacher, Daniel, from various conversations we’ve had on this topic.
When hearing about the trinity, you may understandably think of The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (capital T). However, on the mission field, we have another trinity (small t) that occupies much of our thoughts and time. This trinity: power, internet, and water, has the ability to keep life on the field fairly pleasant, but when one, two, or all three of these elements disappear, it all becomes a bit more difficult. Let me explain.
Power, while not a scarce commodity, is certainly an unreliable one. Whether in the classroom, the airport, or sitting at home, it is not a strange occurrence for the power to cut out. It has the possibility of coming back in the next five minutes, or the next five hours. There is never an assurance to how long you will be without it. While this problem can usually be solved with a generator or lighting some candles, it also has farther-reaching consequences than just a lack of light.
Internet is used in this country as much as any other, but again can be rather unreliable. When the power goes, then the internet also goes. This doesn’t seem like such a big deal until you’ve finally set up, or even started, that long-awaited Skype date. Hopefully, the other person remembers that you live in Africa and you aren’t ignoring or forgetting them.
But there are many (creative) causes of the loss of our internet. Sometimes, rats crawl into the box that connects you to the local telecom hook-up and chew through the cables. And even though the other company on your line is an internet café, it still takes two weeks to get it fixed. Sometimes, the line is disconnected for who knows what reason, and it takes a visit to the head of internet for the whole country to get it fixed. At least there are some decent stories out of the ordeal.
Water, our current dilemma, is a much coveted and usually reliable source. This means when it is gone, life is not fun. After so many days without bathing or a sink overflowing with dirty dishes, grumpiness may start to occur. My roommate remarked that, in a way, its almost like living like Laura in Little House on the Prairie. Then we realized that they didn’t take baths very often or use so much water, because it was so much effort. I am satisfied not emulating that particular lifestyle.
Ideally, all three resources are readily available and life goes on pretty happily. But then again, times without any one of these resources do remind you to be grateful when those happy times come back. As my friend, Daniel, says “Without one of the three, life is ok. Without two, life gets more difficult. Without all three, life is not good.”
This post applies to those of us that are blessed to have access to these resources to start with. Living in a capital city, we experience a different lifestyle than those that live down-country or other places with less. I hold those people in high esteem and applaud them from my home here in Addis.