Life At Point C

Experiencing Life along the Silk Road

It’s Electric!

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Missing OutletFor those who don’t know me, my background is in electricity and computers. The computer side comes in handy for obvious reasons, but now the engineering side is coming into play also. We are working on getting our new NGO offices ready to offer our language and computer classes. This requires a remodel of the former soviet textile factory out of which we are renting a floor.

I’ve traveled to many countries and have had nightmares from the electrical messes I’ve encountered. Here is no different. Aluminum wiring makes me cringe.

Today I learned another important lesson. Electrician does not necessarily mean electrician (at least not what I mean by electrician). I’ve learned that here, an electrician, or plumber, carpenter, or any other skilled profession, really equates someone who picked up a little on the side and now calls himself one. In the case of the one we met with today, that would mean electrician, plumber, and who knows what else.

To be fair, they do tend to “make it work” most of the time. The ingenuity displayed in the homemade welding rigs is quite impressive. Crude. Inefficient. Functional. They almost always lack proper materials and tools yet they find a way to make it work. The average “master”, as they call themselves, knows more about a variety of disciplines than what I’m accustomed to in the States. With little to no formal training, they’ve learned to get’er dun.

I’m sure I’ll continue to cringe when I open up breaker boxes or see “aluminum” wiring exposed outside and rusted. I’ll never get used to one meter pieces of wire twisted together to make a long connection. However I will continue to be impressed by their resourcefulness, though I’m always open to a visit from a master electrician on this project.

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