The Struggle to Get Back Online

Like Maracaibo and Merida, Barquisimeto is one of those Venezuelan cities where power has been more off than on since March 7th. Our man there sent us a short report on how it is to live off the grid, against your wishes and needs

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

As I write for the first time in more than three weeks, the power fails once again. But this time it isn’t because of the day’s blackout at home: the electric plant that a local cyber café installed recently in order to keep in business has malfunctioned. It has been this way the whole afternoon, no way of knowing whether they’ll fix it or replace it with another one.

This place has become my second home out of absolute necessity. My Internet service dropped dead several days ago and the chances of it getting fixed are next to none, according to the technician I talked with. The term “disappointed but not surprised“ applies perfectly in this case.

The cyber cafe (and the shopping mall where it’s located) is going through rough times as well. Since there’s no power between mid-morning and sundown (and even all night,) shop owners have to wait in vain to see if they can get some business done. The regime’s so-called power rationing plan is pure fiction here.

Even before my Internet went off, my routine was already in shambles, just like everyone else’s. The only thing we know for sure is that we won’t have electricity for most of the day.

This is taking a serious toll on me and also affecting my loved ones. But the biggest struggle for me is to keep myself informed, entertained and engaged. I don’t want to give up to boredom, helplessness and despair. I refuse to fall into that path, but it’s hard…

I wasn’t sure to write this article in the first place, as I didn’t want to do another chronicle of the desperate times we’re living in. Some of my CC colleagues have done a much better job recently in describing the same feelings and frustrations. I admit that this kind of pieces aren’t my strong suit.

Years ago, I wrote about how I hate blackouts. Now, I face the huge challenge of living with them all day long. My worst nightmare. But I won’t remain idle, I’ll do what I can to get through this. The normalcy that existed until weeks ago is gone. I have to work around that. And this short article is simply a first step towards that goal, to get back to what I need and love to do.