It was midday and I was preparing for my afternoon computer class. As I was working on one of the computers, it just switched off. No power. I figured it was the same problem I had last week when the school was out of electricity so I hopped over the to principals office to check on the electrical box. Unfortunately I found it to be off as well, which means that the power was out for our entire area of the village. As I was discussing the power outage with fellow teachers, Jessica sent a message letting me know that the power was out at home as well, where she had been busy on the sewing machine with a Palala Clubs Apron Project order. Losing power is a regular occurrence here, though usually it comes with a storm or high winds. To the contrary, this day was a moderate, cloudless, beautiful winter day; a day you would choose if you could wake up in the morning and select the weather. As I went around to the teachers who are in the afternoon computer class to discuss rescheduling for a later day when electricity is available, it filtered in through a few students that there had been an accident. A baakie (pickup truck) had hit an electrical pole and knocked out power to our section of the village. Questions answered. Yet as I made my way home I saw ahead of me on the dirt road a large gathering of school children and adults from the neighborhood surrounding what I could only imagine was the fated baakie. I could see the power lines swaying low in the soft afternoon breeze and knew this was the site of the accident. Detouring through the crowd I asked a few students about the what transpired and this is where it gets interesting. Turns out the baakie belongs to the principal at the secondary school. Following the norms and standards of accepted practices at school, he had sent two boys on an errand (personal, not school related of course). This errand involved tossing them the keys to his baakie and directing them across the village to a local person who was going to repair his spare tire. Unfortunately, after the boys, giddy with the freedom of having the Principal's keys in their hands, careened down the first half kilometer of road they apparently lost control on the gravel and grated the passenger side of the baakie across the electrical pole. The boys were taken to the local hospital for treatment, but were found to have no injuries and are back in school today. The baakie, with half of the bed torn away and a punctured rear tire, looked like a casualty of urban warfare that you see in the news. After snapping a few photos and hanging out with the school kids to watch as they towed the baakie away, and Eskom (the electrical company) showed up to start repairs, I made my way home.
The remainder of our Tuesday night was taken up with a cheese and cracker dinner and strawberries for dessert by candlelight, all because a couple of high school boys went joy riding in the Principal's baakie and knocked out power to half the village.