Hakuna stima hapa

Hakuna Stima was a common situation for me when I lived in Kenya, it means the electricity is off. It used to happen about once per week as a scheduled event lasting about a day and, intermittently, the rest of the time giving our UPSs a hard time in the computer lab.

The night before last, it happened here in Cambridge.

“That’s interesting”, I said as I was plunged into darkness while cooking a curry.

The curry continued to cook on the gas stove but the gas central heating boiler, however, went off. We had a candle-lit curry supper.

After a couple of hours there was a flicker from the lights and beeps from various parts of the house but it didn’t turn into anything. Looking out of the window, the neighbours who had been blacked-out with us were, mostly, showing lights in their windows again but a few houses including ours remained dark.

In Kenya I’d spend my dark evenings writing in my journal with a candle, sometimes listening to  music by batter-operated radio. Preparing blogs to post here was part of what made life meaningful for me there. Biggest problem was that I had an electric fridge but, in fact, I didn’t keep much in it.

Nic and I sat on the sofa, under a quilt. It was so quiet. I read aloud from The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe which I’d been reading aloud at bed time for a couple of weeks. Then we turned off everything that might beep when the power came back on, and turned in for an early night. The heating had been on for a while and our home is well insulated so we weren’t cold, despite it being frosty outside.

In the morning the lights were on in the kitchen.

A sobering premonition, perhaps, of how we might have to adapt when fossil fuels start to run down.


  1. Theresa Munanga Says:

    Thanks for the memories, Mark! (Hakuna stima, your little fridge…) And if I didn’t say it enough when I was there, thanks for all those meals you cooked for me (and the rest of us)!!! 🙂

    I just heard the other day that they replaced me at my second site, the National Youth Service in Yatta. How depressing! I wish I were still in the Peace Corps!

    Take care!


    (PS: James has been here in the US with me for 5-1/2 months now. He’s adapting quickly and says “hello”.)

  2. Alan Says:

    Yo yo, I am in Kenya and have stima as we speak. I am listening to some death metal on my laptop and and re-heating some chapatis in the kitchen. Yum!

    Today during my C++ lab the stima kept coming and going, making it really hard to illustrate logic and semantic errors.

    As an other aside, I just gave away my copy of “The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe” to a colleague yesterday. If you haven’t heard BBC’s radio-adaptation of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, download it! It’s brilliant! I listened to it on my iPod at least four times a few months ago.

    Good to see you are still remembering your Swahili ;). How about this: Githeri yangu ilikua tamu sana!

    Take care, bwana.


  3. Franck Says:

    “The restaurant at the End of the Universe”? What is this book … Everybody seems to have already red it … 😮
    Take care.


  4. jan main Says:

    we have a ot of that in NZ too , hence the wood burning oven ..and solar, but it took me back to the eirly 70s when i was in London and the power would be off almost every day 2 hours at a time ,, we played crib with the old chap downstiars ..as he had a gas fire…

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