African Luxuries : Electricity Regulators

5 03 2012

The electrical current is not very stable here.  We should be getting 220V at all times but sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less and sometimes it jumps around.  At the old house, one might think it was haunted at the rate the lights dimmed and brightened throughout the day but it’s much better here.  (Are you noticing a pattern here?)

The ups & downs are really hard on electronics and it’s fairly common for it to ruin them altogether.  An acquaintance of mine recently went through her 8th router.  Replacing TV’s, microwaves & computers every few months would get expensive so it’s much easier to use electricity regulators.

Basically, we plug the regulator into the wall and then our big electronics get plugged into the regulator.  The regulators job is to take the current, be it high or low, and stabilize it to 220V.  Hopefully this will result in the longevity of TVs, computers and other electronics.





African Luxuries : Water Reservoir Tank & Pump

28 02 2012

I thought I’d start a new series of posts regarding African luxuries – things that aren’t essential to survival but certainly make life a whole lot easier if you have them.

The water pressure here is dreadful and that is why most houses have reservoir tanks and water pumps installed right away.

The regular town water fills up the tank and then when a tap is turned on in the house, the pump kicks in and forces the water from the tank through the pipes and into the house.  This ensures that the water pressure is sufficient for general purposes.

Without a pump and water tank, there is literally a dribble of water; not enough to even fill the kitchen sink to do dishes.  In actuality, without the pump, at our second floor apartment we probably wouldn’t even get a drop through the taps.  When we first arrived we were in a hotel room that didn’t have water assistance and I couldn’t even wash my hair in the shower as there just wasn’t enough water nor pressure.  It assured me that yes, a pump & tank make life in Gabon A LOT easier.

You can check out the first edition of African Luxuries here.





African Luxuries: Generators

20 02 2012

I thought I’d start a new series of posts regarding African luxuries – things that aren’t essential to survival but certainly make life a whole lot easier if you have them.

Just before our arrival in Gabon, Joe’s company began installing generators at every expat household.  The generator is big; it holds 100 litres of diesel and can power most of the house.  If needed, it could keep us out of the dark for 2 days without a fill up.

The electricity goes out fairly regularly here.  At our last house, we needed the generator at least once a week but in our new location, the power seems to be much more stable.  Sometimes the cuts last for an hour or 2, other times it’s several hours or days.  The generator starts automatically and it shuts off automatically when the electricity returns.  The only thing we need to worry about is keeping it topped up with diesel.

Unfortunately, our apartment seems to have 2 separate electricity lines and the generator is only tapped in to one of them.  We didn’t realise how bad it was until the power went out one day and literally, half of our apartment was without power.  (Funny enough it’s not just the right side or the left side; it’s the AC in one room and lights in another or one outlet works but not the next.  Nothing an extension cord can’t fix though.)