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Things To Do When The Power Goes Out!

Hello there. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Emily, I’m from Nova Scotia, and I love the rain. I spend a lot of time talking about the rain, writing about the rain, and watching the rain. I especially love being able to see it coming long before it arrives at the area where you find yourself. This experience is truly unique, and one that I’m not sure a lot of people understand.

I had originally planned on spending the duration of this post attempting to explain how awesome rainstorms are outside of Canada, but I feel like I’ve done that before… a lot. However, often a by-product of the rain, and something that is a frequent occurrence when living outside of the West, are power outages. And, they’re sneaky too. They never happen when you’re not going to be home for some time, or when you’re heading to bed. Nope! They always happen just as all of your technology is in desperate need of charging or you’re about to cook dinner after the sun has set!

Not wanting to let these potentially frustrating instances spoil my fun or enjoyment of my new home, I, along with my fellow IYIP intern and roomie, Aaron, are becoming power-outage-pastime-experts. And so, I figured as someone who is possibly considering a career in development, an IYIP placement, or just curious about life outside of Canada, sharing our growing list of things to do when the power goes out might be of some interest to you. So, here it goes:

  1. If it’s raining, bask in the awesomeness and power of the rainfall! I have always been and continue to be amazed by the rain, no matter where I find myself, but there’s nothing like a good African rainfall. This is an especially good pastime if it’s light outside, because you can actually see it. Alternatively, if the rains start at night, and your power is out, you’re likely to witness a spectacular thunder and lightening storm, which can only truly be appreciated when there is complete darkness!\

  2. Read a book. Now this, of course, only works if you a) have a physical book, or b) your e-reader is charged. Also, you should probably try to keep your electronics charged as much as possible, because you never really know when the next outage will be… or for how long!

  3. Play a game (cards, dice, board, etc.). Playing games are a fun way to pass some time even when the power is functioning normally, but are also great to have on hand during an outage. Don’t have room to pack these things in your luggage? No problem! You’ll likely be able to find something when you arrive. Here in Kampala, we’ve taken quite a liking to a competitive game of Go Fish!

  4. Go for a walk. This is probably something you should do anyway, if not just to orientate yourself with your new surroundings. But, if ever you find yourself without power during the day – and it’s not raining – why not take some time to explore your neighborhood. It’s amazing the things you will see and the people you will meet.

  5. Engage in some deep/meaningful/ridiculous conversation with your roommate, friend, or random person on the street. This is kind of an extension of the previous recommendation. If you’re taking a walk or exploring your new surroundings, why not have a chat with someone you meet along the way? But, it also works if you happen to be indoors with your roommate, a friend, or your co-workers. It doesn’t have to be anything heavy, either. Sometimes it’s fun just to toss around a few topics or even tell some terrible jokes. …I’m getting really good at telling terrible jokes.

  6. And finally, from time to time… take a nap, stare at the walls, enjoy some quiet time or just reflect. I must stress that the urge to nap off the power outage should be used for special occasions and not become the norm. I mean, to each their own, but you tend to miss a while lot of life and experiences if you nap it all away. That being said, I love a good afternoon nap every once in a while. But this is why I also recommend replacing naptime with quiet or reflection time. You could journal, write a blog post, or just sit with your thoughts. For me, rain inspires me to reflect on where I’m at and where I’m going. It makes me appreciate the world I live in and how delicate it can be. This may not be the case for you, and that’s okay too.

So there you have it – a brief, but hopefully helpful, list of power outage possibilities!

Emily is working with the Food Rights Alliance in Kampala, Uganda as a Food and Nutrition Intern. Follow her blog at:


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