Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Update: Electricity, Internet, Kindles, etc.

Internet Paradox

Back before Easter we finally had an internet system installed here at St. Fidelis. One would think that that would result in more blog posts, but it clearly has not. Before I usually could only use the internet on Tuesdays when I went into town. I would therefore sometimes plan on posting something then and would feel pressured to finish writing something on Monday night. Now I can post anytime, so I can write anytime, so I don’t write.

KarKar

One of my college friends, Taylor, came here shortly after Easter. It was great. We visited a nearby island that I had never been to, and I enjoyed showing him around some of the nearby places here in Madang. As I'm never too good about taking pictures, interested people can be directed to some of Taylor's pictures of the trip here

Kindles

One bonus to Taylor’s visit was that he could carry over a kindle that I ordered on behalf of Fr. Marceliano, one of our Filipino priests. Right now Amazon basically owes me a commission as a salesman, because Fr. Marceliano is very enthusiastic about his kindle and refers to me as “the expert” when explaining it to others. Needless to say, there are few bookstores here, so it’s a big deal when serious readers discover that there is such a thing as an e-book and that they could theoretically start reading any one of tens of thousands (millions?) of books within a matter of minutes.

This isn’t to say that I don’t share everyone’s love of paper books. It is just sometimes incredibly nice to have an alternative to paying exorbitant international shipping rates to read something you’ve suddenly become interested in.

Blackouts

About five weeks ago there was a landslide in the highlands that cut this province off from the hydro-power dam that provides most of our electricity. It then became the norm to receive power for only about 4-6 hours a day. This did not mean that we were without power that whole time, because we do have our own backup generator. However, to conserve fuel, we do not leave it on all the time and there were significant gaps. For one week some other staff were gone and I was in charge of switching everything from grid power to the generator and back again.  I am now glad that we are back to the norm of having grid power for most of the day on most days.

Familiarity


It is probably fairly normal for college students to change rooms every year or so, and before coming here I had been a college student for about six years in a row. Despite this, it still somehow strikes me as significant that the last time I had lived in the same room, sleeping in the same bed, for this many months in a row was when I was in high school.

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