Frequent power outages are a part of life here in Kosovo. The times and duration vary depending on where you live. For example, I’ve been told my village experiences greater outages in summer than in winter.
As of right now, the longest outage I’ve experienced was probably about 15 hours. And since moving to my permanent site, the longest we go without losing power at all is probably 2-3 days. I guess I’d describe our outages as “frequent but brief.”
Once, the power cut out while I was in the shower. I was standing in the pitch dark, frantically trying to rinse the shampoo from my hair, knowing I only had about 30 seconds until the water cut out, too. When I emerged from the bathroom, my host mother was standing outside the door with a flashlight pointed at me. Haha.
Losing power isn’t very fun (although it does lead to spontaneous candlelit dinners). I use the following resources to stay as comfortable as possible.
I keep a supply of tap water stored in 2-liter bottles in my bedroom. If the power goes out, I can still wash my face and brush my teeth. (Or, if things got really desperate, I guess I could also “shower” using bottled water. Luckily, the outages have never been that long.)
Every home in Kosovo has at least one of these mini gas burners. I’ve used them to make coffee and tea, and also to heat up soup and boil water for pasta. This one is about 12″ tall.
The Peace Corps requires us to have a working phone at all times. Well, if the power cuts out when my phone battery is low, that could be a problem. I purchased this power bank, which has given me peace of mind.
I bought this hard drive and loaded it with my favorite movies before I moved to Kosovo. When the power cuts out and I’m sitting in the dark and bored, I plug my hard drive into my laptop (which I always keep charged) and watch a movie or a t.v. show.
A friend bought me my favorite candle (Chicago-based Chandler Candle Company’s “Tobacco” scent) as a going away present before I moved to Kosovo. I’ve used it frequently when the power cuts out.