Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fun With Electricity

As a general rule of thumb, if I haven't done something during the course of the day that makes me laugh at myself, then I figure I really haven't tried. Here is one of my favorite "laugh at myself moments" so far in Botswana.

Most of the houses on my street have high walls and electric fences (much like the picture above) and they may or may not have barb wire. Property crimes have been an issue where I live and I guess people operate under the rule, "Better safe than sorry." (And before anyone worries back home, I feel quite safe in my community.) My apartment building is also surrounded by a high wall and an electrified wire. Some days, I lovingly refer to my place as "The Compound."

To get in, I walk through a small gate. Over this gate are the four of five electrified wires. The lowest wire is maybe 6 feet above the ground and I generally was pretty good about ducking under it.

Then one morning, I got careless. I bumped into the wire. Amazingly, nothing happened. I thought to myself that maybe the fence was only a deterrent after all and went on to work. I even bumped into it a few days later and still, nothing happened.

Then one afternoon, I was headed out to meet up with a few friends and I backed through the gate while closing the door.

Wham! I got the feeling like when you stand up under something and hit your head and was instantly doubled over. I frequently run into overhead objects, so I looked up at the gate thinking that I had hit a railing or something.

Then, it dawned on me. The fence was on. I felt the back of my head to make sure I wasn't bleeding or hadn't singed off hair. Everything checked out so I quickly looked around to make sure no one else had seen what just happened.

The coast was clear and I continued on my way. Needless to say, I now duck much lower than necessary when going through the gate.