Accra Ghana Temple

Accra Ghana Temple
Accra Ghana Temple

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What a Shock - My Electrical World

We fully understood that in coming to Africa, we were leaving the world of 110V electricity and entering the world of 220V.  We brought with us adapters, converters, and step-up/step-down units.

The surprise to us was that Ghana is the United Nations of electrical plugs.  We have electric appliances from Europe, South Africa, Asia, the United States, and so on.  Our home is built for UK style plugs.  Our appliances are rarely from the UK.  So we are always searching for what kind of an adapter will allow us to plug what appliance into the wall. All wall sockets have their own on/off switch at the wall. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, you can have a close up look at our electrical world. 

For the US appliances and electrical equipment we brought, we have to step-down the voltage from 220 to 110.  We have several varieties of converters which can accomplish this.  But if you forget... it is the sudden and sure death of your US electrical toy (if there is not a built in converter in your US appliance).  For example, most computers have that built into the power system.  

The second problem is electrical surges which are all too common here.  In order to protect your equipment, you must have a voltage regulator.  It will stabilize the flow of electricity to 220, even if spikes occur.  So, your sewing machine would need a voltage regulator or it could become toast!

The third problem is the frequent power outages.  We are very blessed to have a large diesel operated generator in our back yard.  When the electricity goes off, this behemoth roars into activity.  We usually have a quick return of lights and power unless there is a problem with the generator... which has happened... and then Gregg and I sit in the dark.  Fortunately, our computers function with a battery backup, so we don't lose anything during a power outage. 

Leapin Lizards!

Our small guests, the common house geckos (hemidactylus mabouia), are not to be underestimated in their jumping and running abilities.  This week I opened the cupboard to take out plates for dinner.  Peering over the top of the plate, were two tiny black beady eyes;  a baby gecko.  As I reached for the plates, he leaped out of the cupboard, onto me, and made a safe landing and a quick getaway on the floor. I was so proud of myself for not dropping the plates. Gregg said, "well done, Shannon." The happy ending is that the next morning when I opened the door, there he was ready to run for his life.  Free at last! 

These little translucent bug-eyed lizards are small and bland compared to the Rainbow Lizards which live in our yard and just about everywhere in Ghana.  The males have a bright yellow or orange colored head and bands of colors down the length of their body.
The females are smaller and smarter by blending in very well with their surroundings, usually matching the dirt or rocks.  These lizards have the most unusual characteristics of sprinting, looking around quickly with their buggy eyes, and then doing a series of fast push ups.  We're not sure what they're trying to tell us.  Perhaps it's "look how strong and buff I am!" Gregg thinks they are just showing off for the female lizards.   

Rarely will they let you get close enough to snap a picture.  I like to think I'm quick with the camera, but it was probably just a case of a lizard with an inflated ego that wanted a picture of his push-ups.  We like these lizards because they make a steady diet of bugs.