Yikes! ‘Shocking’ Situations!
Written by: The Bridge on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006
Working with electrical equipment around here is, well shocking, in more ways then one. The voltage is 220V, unlike our 110V at home. The problem is, the ground wire is usually left out in the wiring, or if it’s there, then it’s often not connected anyway. If the electrician doing the job has only two wire cords on hand, then he does the job with that, besides it does work without the ground wire, so what more do you want? That being the case, you soon learn not to touch anything that is metal and plugged into the wall. If you don’t believe me, then ask Talitha about the experience she had while baking bread with the oven! I found it rather amusing until she told me to go and check the peanuts that were drying in the oven. Ouch! Never check it barefoot! The kids using the computers at the computer lab learn not to swing their feet while sitting in front of the computers because the CPU is right at their feet and if they accidentally touch it! They also don’t play around the transformer boxes when power is on because of the same reason. You should see the jungle of wires they have on top of telephone poles, it must be an Electrician’s nightmare!
Emman Dan and I were working at the chicken barn, replacing some light sockets, which by the way are all imported from China. If you think that things back home that are imported from China are cheaply made, well you haven’t seen anything yet! A lot of the electrical plug-ins, light fixtures, wires and stuff like that are so thin and flimsy, I’m surprised that they last as long as they do. For example, if you’re using an extension cord and a drill, everything fits together so poorly that’s it’s a good idea to have someone hold the cord in the wall, another guy holding the other end of the cord together, and the other guy drilling, it’s a three man operation. If you happen to drop the extension cord end two or three times, then you have to get a new one.
Emman and I were trying to figure out why we were only getting 50 Volts at the light socket. We followed the wires and found everything to be connected. Electrical connections are often made by twisting them together, often there are no marets on them, not even tape, just bare wire twisted together and the two ends spread far enough apart so that they don’t touch. It looks like it works, I suppose the mice and lizard that crawl along there soon learn to stay away from things like that. While we were troubleshooting, the power was on, when we wanted to rewire something we went to the main breaker box coming into the barns to turn off all the power. However, we discovered that even with the main breaker off, we still had about a 80 volt difference from the neutral and live wire to ground. Ground meaning, the step ladder that we were working on, it was a rather jolting discovery to say the least. What we might have to do is run a wire from the breaker box to ground, or maybe just work on it when the power is not on.
The guys told me a story, that a few years ago there was a bad short in the chicken barn. A wire had rubbed through and was touching bare metal. If you touched anything metal inside the barn, like the chicken wire, locks on the door or the door handles, you got a shock. The chickens learned not to eat when the power was on because the feeders are made of steel too, I had to laugh at that one. Picture someone trying to open the door when the power is on, he must have done quite some jumping around before he finally got it open. A lesson we could take from this is how important it is to have our spiritual life well grounded, otherwise we will do a lot of jumping around as well.
On a different note who can guess what kind of flower this is? The yellow flower sits on top of a delicate milky, white stem and it bears fruit. I never thought that this plant would have a flower, but then I never really thought about it either.