i mentioned in a past post that in the campo there is often no, or very limited, access to electricity. i also mentioned that we have pretty consistent access to light. but it's not always been that way, in fact, it wasn't until very recently that we were contracted to 24 hours a day of light - and even that is a misnomer.
it's one of the huge downfalls of living here, and while the situation has gotten better, it's frustrating to have something planned that requires electricity and be without - sometimes for 8-12 hours at a time.
they're called rolling brown-outs - or apagones - and basically, my understanding is that the main circuit boards can't handle the amount of people using electricity. so, the power that is available is shared. and by sharing, i mean, distributed. and not always equally. for example, we almost always have electricity but it wasn't until three weeks ago that amalio's school ever had electricity. night classes were cancelled at least twice a week because there wasn't enough light during the week to charge the batteries in the invertors. (think generator except instead of using gas, they charge car batteries that then power the light when there is a black-out. depending on the amount of batteries, you can run lightbulbs, fans, the tv, computer).
i've been told that the situation is changing - the system the electric companies are using is more streamlined and efficient and soon we will see less outages because the people who are not paying for light just won't have any, instead of everyone paying the bill for their thievin' neighbors. because that's how it works. i don't want to pay, i connect my line to your line - or even just to the general supply - your bill goes up and i'm off scot-free. that's where the unfair distribution comes in. those areas that have a high percentage of thievery get less light. luckily, where we live, most people pay. or at least that's my assumption since we have a lot of hours.
it's not just the light, though. sometimes we lose our water. like yesterday. not one drop. for about 8 hours we couldn't do anything with water. not even cook. well, that was my fault and i'm just too lazy to use bottled water to cook, but i did have great plans to do laundry and clean the bathrooms. the lack of water is more common during the summer dry season - there isn't enough water in the reservoirs, so there isn't enough water to distribute. i blame this less on the water company than on mother nature, but that's me.
so, you can probably imagine that laundry is a bit of a chore - the stars and moon and planets all have to align. no rain (we line dry), electricity and enough water to fill the machine. it's a pain. but really in the grand scheme of things, it's minor. the light goes out? take a nap. read a book. go for a walk. the water? watch tv. take a nap. order in for lunch.