Let me share an observation with you. Not a complaint, mind you. Because the differences here are the spice of life, and we really embrace all of these things. But they just make life interesting, and sometimes fun—and sometimes frustrating. So anyway: the power goes out a lot here. And it is totally unpredictable, although so far it has been 2:1 at night. And usually it happens during ,or right after, a long day of rain. Today, the power was out almost all day. Which means Will couldn’t do any of his online Math curriculum because our internet connection was off. And Heidi had to load all our frozen food out of the freezer and take it over to the neighbors, because we weren’t sure if the power would be out for 12 minutes or 12 hours (our upstairs neighbors have a portable generator and can keep their freezer going).
Often the power outages mean a cozy night gathered around our 4 inch 27 lumen battery powered REI lantern. This is actually quite pleasant, as we read together out loud, play cards or dice games, and have some popcorn. Luckily, our stove is gas powered so we can still cook and bake.
Now, I’m not an electrical engineer. In fact, I am not very handy at all. Anything involving fiddling with electrical sockets, or the fuse box, I usually leave to the experts. Or, I consult Pappy Floyd (Grandpa) or Jeff Gray (Buddy/electrical engineer). But in this case, I really think I have an idea as to why the power keeps going out. I have made some careful calculations, and I have consulted Ohm’s law which says:
Now understand this. ‘I’ in this equation is the current. ‘V’ is the voltage. And here is the important part: ‘R’ is the resistance. If you understand a little algebra, as the ‘R’ increases, ‘I’ (your current) decreases. So what causes resistance? Well, lots of things do, I guess. But I’m pretty sure your wire itself causes a lot of resistance.
So, after plugging in many figures into the equation, including the square root of Pi, the area of a hypotenuse triangle, and the PIN # of my bank card, I have deduced that this is the problem:
This is a typical street in La Ceiba, which is the 3rd largest city in Honduras. This is what every corner electrical post looks like. Again, not an expert here, but I really think this might be contributing to their electrical issues. Jeff, chime in here if I’m wrong.
Electrical wires in the States: large diameter, and less lines. I wonder how heat and humidity play into this. Anyone?
Pop quiz. Can you think of a place where the lights are always on? Where they literally never turn them off, day or night, 24/7, 365 days a year? Right, the hospital.
Here was our hospital last night:
The hospital has a back-up system, a diesel-run generator that has enough fuel to run for 12 days. It automatically kicks in within 10 seconds of the power going off. In fact, the other night I was sewing up a fella’s leg when the lights went off. I think he was a little worried, but I reassured him with an ‘un momento,’ and 7 seconds later the lights popped back on. I’m actually not sure why the generator didn’t kick back on last night. I know that there were a bunch of handy, fix-it type guys milling about the apparatus, and when I awoke this morning the power was back on. Yay for smart electrical folks!
Ok, on to some pics…