You may have heard. There is no electricity in Zanzibar other than the startling lightning of monsoon season. A fire decimated much of the system that brings us power from the mainland, and spare parts are on order. Talk is of no electricity for a week, two weeks, three weeks. Some even say we might yet rival the six week power cut of 2008.
Hotel and business owners are frantic. Everyone is stressed (except generator salesmen who smile knowingly and count the extra shilingi). There is an upsurge in interest in solar energy. Every night generators hum like angry insects, bringing precious hours of light and music.
But it isn’t all bad. The dark Swahili sense of humour makes it bearable – of course the power supply would blow up just before Christmas and New Year, when the hordes descend on Zanzibar. The struggle to keep everything together unites neighbouring houses and businesses, and a spirit of co-operation reigns.
Best is the realisation that the natural beauty of Zanzibar is unaffected. There may be no TV, fans or fridge, but the birds still sing, the flowers still ooze their decadent scent, and best of all the decrease in light pollution makes the stars pop out of the sky. Last night I saw a shooting star. I thought about wishing for the electricity back but decided instead to let fate take its course.
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