Over the past week and into this week the power across Khartoum has been blacking-out for increasingly longer periods. All is the result of technical problems with the integration of hydro-generated power from Meroe Dam in Northern Sudan. The Dam hailed as an infrastructural triumph and the largest project of its kind on the continent of Africa. It seems that now that it is up and running it has failed to live up to the hype. Granted engineers are working around the clock to remedy the problem. But in the meantime we residents are living in excruciating agony as we struggle to move about with lack of electricity under such scorching hot conditions.
Daily highs these days regularly hover in the 50 (degree Celsius). It is as if someone is playing a cruel joke and hovering a magnifying glass above your head. It honestly feels as if the sun’s rays are directly above you. To make matters worse, the moment you step outside “samoom” dreadfully hot gusts of air (not sure if there is an English equivalent to that word) ungraciously slaps you in the face. For anyone not familiar with the feeling of such gusts, it is akin to placing your face in close proximity to an over as you come to open it and the burst of smouldering compressed air greets your face, similar experience to samoom except you can’t escape it.
Power has going out for 6-12 hour periods at a time. It now seems that it is scheduled blackouts as some areas of the city are experiencing these blackouts during the day (from sunrise till near sunrise) and others in the evenings starting from sundown till the near midnight or beyond.
The current joke in town, as this is Sudan and no one has faith that anything can be accomplished properly that instead of providing electricity, the new dam has started sucking out power from the network. In reality there actually isn’t a problem with the dam itself and it is theoretically capable of providing all the power officials boasted about. The problem most likely lies in the network that in some regions of the city is dilapidated and in need of rehabilitation or replacement.
As I currently write this we are currently experiencing such a blackout and I’m relying on my remaining laptop battery power to briefly entertain me. I have found some relief by soaking a piece of thin cotton cloth in water and laying it over my head and neck. I have no idea when this torture will be over but I pray to god they find a solution pronto!!!!