We are having power problems in the compound where the church is located. It turns out that someone had drained the oil from the transformer that served us. This destroys the transformer but the oil can be used to sell as cooking oil. It is a common experience but an unpleasant one. Our new building has been dimly lit for the last month, with no security lights. Moreover, it could damage our equipment so all the equipment is being run through a generator. Zesco did what it could to connect all of us to another transformer, but it is just not solving the problem or making folks here happy.
I went down to Zesco to see what was happening. Some community members asked me to spearhead a community action group but I declined. Zesco said they are trying to get a white farmer to lend them one of their transformers that they are not using. I asked which farmer but they really weren’t sure yet. They insisted that they could not get another transformer. While I was talking to the field manager the district manager came in and gave me some input. He insisted that no transformer could be gotten. He started to go in the direction of this will teach people to steal the oil. I protested that many innocent people are suffering because of the actions of a few. Since I know that Zesco will be increasing electrical output in the future I know they have access to transformers. The policy seems to be to take action in these cases very slowly so the community does a better job of policing itself. Already marketers have been arrested who are selling the transformer oil. The actual thieves haven’t been caught yet. It turns out that a recent law was passed giving this crime a twenty-year sentence. It is a silly crime for a very small amount of money.
This crime plagues Zambia, but things are getting better. It used to be that this crime just hurt the richer people, now entire communities pay the price for this crime. Looking into the future I am sure things will get better. We now have streetlights down the main drag of Mazabuka. This was an impossibility in years past. As soon as the lights went up the thieves stole the bulbs. Not so this year. Yes, there is hope.
The two photos are there to show you the lady who had bought the oil in the baggy and the table with the oil for sale in the market.