Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Life Off The Grid

We are almost at the three-month anniversary of moving into the Nazarene mission home in Lubumbashi. It has been such a blessing. Already, we’ve been able to host people more comfortably, work more efficiently and take life for granted in regards to electricity and water. Which brings me to this post.

We live off the grid; meaning we rely on solar panels, a generator and a well for electricity and water.  Here are some differences we have noticed since making the switch. 

1.     Sun, glorious sunshine. We are always happy when the sun breaks through and shines bright to charge our batteries through the solar panels and heat our water. Before we never really paid attention to sunny days verses cloudy days.
2.     TURN OFF THAT LIGHT! We’ve always been pretty good at turning lights off when we aren’t in a room, but now a light left on is a serious crime.
3.     No cringing at a knock on the front gate. Without fail, each month, the electric company would send a crew to distribute our bill. With the bill came threats and arguments over past payments. Also, we don’t have to wait in line for hours in order to pay our bill every month. Finally, our file system of three years worth of receipts is no longer necessary in order to prove our diligence in payments.
4.     The fridge cycle. Every night we have to turn off the fridge as to not overly tax the batteries that were charged during the day. It’s almost 12 hours on and 12 hours off cycle. Because of power cuts, our fridge has always gone through a similar cycle, only now we get to decide when it goes on and off.
5.     Oven reliability. I can’t tell you how many times I prepared something and just as it was going in the oven, our electricity cut off and the dish was ruined or wasted. Now, when I need the oven, we turn on the generator and the dish cooks.
6.     The yearly drought. Every year at the end of dry season, we experienced a period with no water from the city. Although we’re in the middle of rainy season, we know that we now have the assurance of water year round.
7.     Stable electricity. Our electricity comes in at the exact voltage it is suppose to; 220. We no longer have to worry about damaging our electronics and constantly changing light bulbs.
8.     Night vision. Our need for flashlights or candles has drastically changed. Instead of fumbling around in the dark for a flashlight or waiting for your eyes to “adjust”, we just flip on the lights. We admit that our nocturnal vision has suffered, and we can no longer claim this as our super hero power.

Our quality of life has improved and we are thankful that the church invested here to make this a possibility. We are also thankful for the time we spent, in what was a very nice home because, if anything, it has taught us to be thankful for what we have. Now, what to do about the traffic police…

Our generator and water tank
Solar panels for the house

Solar water heater

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