Lights Out!

Electricity in Uganda

It was almost dinner time when the lights went out. “Nooooooooooooooo!” Before you knew it, the only light in the room was coming from my iPad. When the electricity goes out in the day, it’s annoying. But at night, it’s a real pain in the butt.

The World Bank says that when my parents first visited Uganda in 2004, 1 in 10 Ugandans had electricity. In 2016, that number was up to 1 in 4. A few days before I finished writing this there were rumors that the government intentionally shut off the electricity to prevent people from hearing/seeing a political rival to the president appear on TV. Nighttime black outs can be tough if you are not prepared.

When our lights went out we stumbled around in the dark, finishing our preparations for dinner. My parents turned on their phones as flashlights because we didn't have any candles. We tried to make the best of our predicament.

“At least we’re not using up any Kilowatt hours,” said Dad. “And we are getting a small taste of how most Ugandans live.” Dad played some Jazz music on a battery powered speaker, and it should have been a relaxing meal. Unfortunately darkness didn’t bring out the best in us kids. Voices rose. Kids quarreled. One sibling went to their room in tears. Another siblings declared, "I'm homesick!"

I, however, think this "lights out" idea has amazing potential and I recommend that your family shut off your lights at dinner sometime. With candles it could be very relaxing, and it’s good to get off electricity. Through thick and thin we made it though. Now I think it’s time to say, “Lights Out!