Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The Plug Problem
Plugs are a BIG problem in Botswana. I don’t know the history of the current situation, or even if we are alone in this dilemma, all I know is it is hair-pulling-out infuriating. For some reason there are houses in the country that have round outlets and other houses with square outlets. Because of this you get appliances with round plugs and square plugs and sometimes, just to add that little bit more joy, two little pins. To deal with the chaos, we then have adaptors. We have round to square and square to round and sometimes round to round and square to square adaptors. Invariably you come home from the shop with the wrong one.
You also can buy spare plugs and, if you ‘re handy that way and a donkey seriously living on the edge, you can actually remove the plug you don’t need and put the one you do back in its place. I don’t do that. Getting the wiring wrong, I believe, can burn your house down (don't quote me on that). Electricity is a scary, magic thing that I don’t want to mess with; I don’t even like changing light bulbs. I’m a crazy person when my husband climbs up on a chair and starts fiddling with a faulty socket- even when the mains switch is down- I don’t trust it. There could be hidden, evil electrons hiding in the wires waiting to shock my husband, shooting him many metres into the air to let him fall dead from a heart attack while they giggle their little negatively charged heads off. No, I don’t like messing with electricity.
To live in Botswana every household has a ‘ plug box’. In that box is every conceivable combination of plugs and adaptors. The plug box needs to be pulled out whenever a new appliance is bought or you shift house which I recently did. You can only imagine the craziness when you have finally got everything plugged in after trying to match adaptors with plugs and then with outlets, then only to find that you must shift from a house with round outlets to one with square outlets. Fun times I can assure you.
A recent development that is adding more excitement to the mix is the shoddy adaptors that have now flooded the Botswana market. We all need adaptors, every house has them. Now imagine the fun when they melt or , even better, explode. I’m now quick to identify a melting shoddy adaptor- the smell is a bit like a burning rat’s tail. The first time, you’ll look outside wondering what the neighbours are up to, until you see the smoke and realise it is all about you.
There is nothing that can be done now, of course. The government can’t give a directorate that all houses must be square because the people in round houses would be in a serious and costly problem. So we struggle along.