Electricity — In America, it’s something you never think about. When you turn on a light, it’s on, and it stays on. This weekend, we had a citywide blackout for fifteen hours. The electric company gave no reason, notice, or apology for this blackout.
The lights go out almost every day, without a moment’s notice, and they return in the same manner, spontaneous and illogical. There is no schedule, no notices, no planning ahead. Prior blackouts have left me in the middle of printing an exam, with half sentences and a blank page. It has left me in the shower, surrounded by darkness.
Over and over again I become frustrated because there is nothing I can do about it. When the city runs out of water, there is nothing I can do but wait. When the city has a blackout, there is nothing I can do but wait. Instance after instance I find myself with no control, only a feeling of helplessness and frustration.
It’s something every Peace Corps Volunteer learns to deal with. The idea that there is nothing you can do, no matter how frustrated you become, no matter how much you scream or cry, there is still nothing you can do. You must make the best of it. In the past, when I had a problem I could get it fixed, or fix it myself immediately. You call the right person, and it’s fixed within hours.
When I miss my family, I must find a way to deal with it. When I am craving cheesy breadsticks, I deal with it. When I see stray dog after stray dog, I deal with it. When I see children on the streets, I deal with it. It’s the first time in my life when there isn’t a quick fix, if there’s any fix at all.
Sometimes all you can do is all you can do. The difficult part is realizing, and accepting, this fact.