No power? No problem.
I’m betting most of you reading this have turned on a faucet today, whether it be to brush your teeth, wash your hands, take a shower or do the dishes. Before you turned that faucet on, you most likely flipped a small switch on the wall to give you some light. Before that, you probably rolled out of your bed, where you slept comfortably in the summer heat because most likely you had on the air conditioning or a ceiling fan.
All of these everyday, seemingly normal activities are second nature to us, something we don’t think twice about. But here in Busua, we have been without power for ten days now. We have no running water to brush our teeth, take a shower or wash our dishes. We have no light to see when we’re in the bathroom, getting ready for bed or eating dinner. Is it frustrating? Yes. Does it bother me? Not at all.
From my time here in Busua, I’ve learned that one must be resourceful. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a live version of the Hunger Games. Everyone is fighting for survival.
No running water? No problem. Go get your plastic bucket with a rope attached, walk to the open community well, throw your bucket down face first (there are many techniques to bucket throwing in a well, I have found this one allows for maximum water input with minimum energy output), fetch your water, drag it up the well and carry your bucket back to your bathroom. Now you’re ready for your bucket shower. *Remember to ration your water so you have enough to thoroughly rinse when you’re done.
No light to see in your bucket shower? No problem. Balance one large flashlight on the sink, pointing towards your bucket. Affix a headlamp to a nail in the wall just above eye level, shining onto your shower. Wallah! I call it resourceful recessed lighting.
No water to flush the toilet after going #2? No problem. Use aforementioned well water and a bowl from the kitchen to wash it down the drain. Avoid splashing at all costs.
No running water to brush your teeth? No problem. Use a sachet of water to wet your toothbrush. While you’re brushing, take in the scenery from the balcony (it’s much lighter than the bathroom). Squirt half the water sachet all over your mouth and spit off the side of the balcony. Don’t forget to rinse your toothbrush, too!
No washing machine or dryer? No problem. Use large bucket of well water. Soak clothes in bucket with dishwashing soap from the kitchen. Rinse clothes in a second bucket of clean water. Hang on the line to dry. *Do not forgot to remove clean clothes from the line BEFORE the rain comes.
No light to see your homework for summer school? No problem. Hang a small pocket flashlight from your ear so it shines at just the right angle on your textbook. Avoid excessive moving around or your study party may turn into a rave.
No rain coat to shield you from the semi-tropical storm raging outside? No problem. Just walk reeeeaaaallly quickly to your destination. Try to avoid large raindrops. (If anyone finds a better solution, let me know.)
No clean water to rinse your salty ocean hair? Find a small Ghanaian child to turn your rats nest of a braid into rasta like dreads. Warning: hair removal possible upon brushing.
No electricity to charge your electronic devices? No problem. Pack up your things and walk down the road to the air conditioned, generator run Busua Beach Resort. Pay 6 cedi ($3) for an hour of Wi-Fi. Share hair care tips with the nice woman at the front desk. Get four more hours of Wi-Fi for free.
No cold drinks? No problem. Walk a quarter of a mile up the road to the next village and ask every kiosk you pass if they have cold Coke. One will eventually have something called “African Cola.” While this looks like Coke and smells like Coke, it is fact, nothing at all like Coke. Stick with warm Coke.
No music at the bar? No problem. Find some empty glass bottles, an old bucket full of concrete, a plastic chair and a reused cooking oil container. Collect forks, sticks and bamboo pieces- anything that will help you make A LOT of noise. Start drumming, thumping, and banging your instrument. You now have your own rock band. Parade around a large bamboo bonfire at night for dramatic effect.
It’s been ten days since the power went out. I’ve given up hope that the broken village transformer will be magically fixed sometime before I leave in 3 weeks. Many would say that not having running water or electricity would be a horrible inconvenience. But not here. Ghanaians have taught me that you can still live just the same without power, you just live a little differently. And believe me, we’re all surviving just fine.
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