The Week That Was experiences power outages, internet connection problems and finds connectivity in the most unexpected and delightful places.
We knew it was coming. We were notified that there was going to be a planned power outage. From 07h30 to 15h00. But, you know, sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t. We had contingencies tucked away in the dark and dusty corners of our minds but hoped that we would not have to pull them out and dust them off. We set off for our first appointment on said day, leaving at 07h45-ish. We were met by the blank stare of a non-working traffic light. What the…? Our hearts dipped. Aargh – the planned power outage. Roll eyes, grimace, sigh. Accept what is… and all that. The road to our first appointment was strung with one dead traffic light after the other. It went on and on. So did the traffic and we were driving against it. Not surprisingly we were late. Not a great start to the day.
Contingency plan dragged out of the dark, we hobbled along and almost got locked out of the property by a security concerned housekeeper when the gate battery went flat. The lights came back on at 21:30 that evening. Six hours of extra (unplanned for) darkness but at least the job was done. With a sigh of relief the morning came and the power was still on. The internet, however, was not. Reboot, unplug, replug, reboot. Three times. Nothing. Call service provider. Go through process again. Technical issue. Yes, we could have told her that. Log call, receive reference number.
Accepting what is
Continue with day, which, luckily, involved being out for most of it. Arrive back, still nothing. Call to check status. No technician has been allocated as yet. Roll eyes, grimace, say a few choice words, (not to the call centre operator – to her there was reigned-in politeness) sigh a lot, fire up the old 3G dongle and hope for the best. Technicians arrive at 18:00 (must have been the reigned in politeness), problem fixed by 21:30. It was two days of no connectivity. We could have been itchy and scratchy, frustrated at all that was out of our control. What we did do was accept was is. What we got was two days of great connectedness. While all of this was happening, no power, no internet, we were connecting with each other, with friends, and family and doing things we keep on overlooking because our faces are stuck staring at a screen.
The magic of connecting
We connected with another school principal who knows all too well the devastating impacts of anxiety and depression. We got to pop in on family who had internet and WiFi so that Skype sessions and photo edits could be completed. Cheese and tomato sandwiches with a good friend and chess by candlelight for me. A pizza supper lit by the pizza oven and good laughs with a favourite son for Matthew. A deeper dive into the physiological and energy impacts of our work with an acupuncturist steeped in Chinese medicine. Conversations with the Vumatel night shift technicians about their work and patiently watching as they tried one thing after the other to fix our internet problem. And finally the delight of being notified that we have an official, approved theme camp for AfrikaBurn. We look forward to doing emotional fitness classes in the middle of the Tankwa desert (volunteers wanted…) at the end of April 2019. The gift of connectedness at a time of no connectivity was a beautiful reminder to move away from the screen and towards the faces and spaces of living, breathing, creating people.
About the author
5th Place offers specialised psychological services in the form of coaching and therapy for immediate relief from stress, anxiety, & other mental health challenges. It works fast, deep and quick. For individuals and groups, children, teens and adults.