our electricity provider, eskom, is having problems. this stems from them not keeping up with increased demands over the last 12 or so years. it seems that our great and wonderful government didn't feel it was necessary. turns out they were wrong. now they can't produce enough electricity for the country. well that is not entirely true. they export electricity to a number of our neighbours, so there is probably enough for south africa, but not enough for southern africa.
this results in what they euphemistically refer to as load shedding. what it is, is to simply cut the power to large areas of the country during the day. (interesting to note that our neighbours don't lose power. only we do). we in nelspruit have been having blackouts on a daily basis for quite a number of hours every day. this means that almost everything grinds to a halt. many borderline businesses will go under and a lot of money will be lost by the larger companies. this will have a dramatic effect on our economy. but at least our neighbours won't be affected. eskom, it seems, cares more about the economy of our neighbours than it does about our own.
why am i writing about this? because hospitals are also getting hit. the other day i was operating in the government hospital when the power was cut. the entire list was canceled. emergency cases only could be done. so no lives were lost, but if you were booked for a hernia repair, sorry. and seeing that these cuts are happening every day, when you come back, you have a good chance of being canceled again.
and in private? the same. the theaters stand empty for hours. ct scans can't be done. sonars wait for the power to come back on. i know of one case where a cardiac angiogram was delayed because of these cuts. one can only hope that it wasn't critical.
and what do we do while the power is off? we wait until it comes back on. what else can we do. in fact the photo above is a photo of us waiting in the doctor's tea room (i'm just out of shot on the left). note our alternative light source.
so, zimbabwe, we are well on our way in following your example of moving back into the dark ages.