A large, black plume of smoke was growing just to the east of my home. I was getting ready to go to work and learned that the roads were closed because the power/electric substation (this is a distributing station) in Soddo was on fire. When the fire began the towns people ran to the substation and started throwing dirt on the flames. After two hours, the fire went out and with it we have a town with out electricity. Now, it isn’t just Soddo. My understanding is that the plant supplies electricity to about 1 1/2 hours north of here and 3 hours south. I am not sure how far east and west.
The response of the people to me is simply beautiful. First, they all ran to help. Then, when the fire was out there was all sorts of cheering. You could hear the cheers from my home about 2 miles away. Then they sang for about 45 minutes praising God. How beautiful!
So what does this mean? No power. No light. Without electricity you can’t turn on the lights, charge your cell phone, cook in the oven/stove (unless gas or open fire), charge your computer, use the fridge or freezer, use blow dryers, use water heaters, use washing machines, kettles, microwaves, coffee grinders, watch TV, listen to the radio, no street lights… Now that is the simple stuff.
The biggest issue is that getting water to the town requires electricity. The pumps for the wells require electricity. So if you don’t have electricity what are your options? Generators. Sounds like a simple plan, but it is an extremely expensive plan. It takes about 200-300 liters of gas PER DAY to run the government hospital or the Christian hospital for 24 hour period. So that comes out to about $235-$350 a day just for electricity. The good news is that the Christian hospital has a well, so there is water.
The government hospital doesn’t have a well, so this is the biggest issue. There is just no water. They get their water from the city and the city can’t deliver it. So how do you run a hospital without water? I have written about this before and we go without water at times, but never for more than 5 days. I have no idea how the hospital will function or if it will be able to. We will only do emergency cases and then we will only do them if we have gowns and instruments that are clean. I have no clue how this will work or what options are available. I know they are working on how to remedy this, but I don’t know what the solution will be. Until there is power, the Christian hospital could potentially be the only functioning hospital in the region.
I don’t know how long it will take to rebuild the plant. I have heard estimates from weeks to months. There has even been question about if the materials to rebuild the plant are available in the country or if they will have to be shipped in. I am sure I will be learning more about electricity and alternative power sources in the next few weeks than I ever dreamed to know. I cannot pretend to be an expert in any of this. I am only telling you the things I have heard throughout the day. What I know for sure is that this is huge.
How can a community survive without water? My first thought was that we see donkeys bringing in water all the time in jugs, but I learned that most of that water comes from the city water. Then, I thought the donkeys will just have to go to the rivers. Problem: it is that it is the dry season and the river beds are dry. I have no idea what will happen.
So for me, what does this mean? I live at the Christian hospital, so we are going to have water and we will have electricity from the generator. The generator will be rationed to cut the cost, so we will probably have electricity for about 4 hours a day. I cannot tell you how excited I am to have electricity for that time! I almost feel guilty about having water. I don’t know how much of the town relies on the city for water, but my guess is almost everyone.
That isn’t the end of the problem. The town often goes without gas. Right now there is gas, but how long will the gas last? Will the prices of the gas sky rocket? I am sure you are beginning to see the enormity of the problem.
All day I have been hearing “Mebrat Yellum”. Mebrat means electricity, light or power. Yellum means there is none. And all day I have been thinking about all the Bible verses that talk about light…. Let there be light and there was light….The LORD turns the darkness into light… The LORD is my light and my salvation… a light unto my path…let your light shine before men…I am the light of the world… his light shines in our hearts…God is light. Pray with me that during this dark time His light will shine.
Here is how you can help. I want to focus on putting funds towards Soddo Christian Hospital because of the water access. With rationing, it will be about $10 per hour to run the hospital. Consider sponsoring the hospital for an hour or more.
Checks should be written out to St. Luke’s Health Care Foundation and sent to:
St Luke’s Health Care Foundation
In care of Ken Amstatz
1700 Park Street
Naperville, IL 60563
Or you can give online through the website:
Please spread the word to your friends and families. My blog is private, but you may send out emails or post it yourself.