I am NEPAman!

Posted: November 1, 2013 by Lenny in Egbe, Egbe Hosptial, Egbe Nigeria, Lenny Miles, Miles In Missions

NepamanI am NEPAman! Sounds sort of like something from the 1980’s sci-fi movie Robocop where he says in a muffled human/computer voice, “I am Robocop”. Well, nothing so glorious for me in the last couple of days, just trying to get the electrical grid up and running on the hospital. NEPA is the national power company for all of Nigeria. I’m not sure of what the acronym stands for exactly, but I’ve thought of a good one for now…. Never Electrical Power Anywhere.

The problem started more than seven weeks ago where a part of the transformer that supplies power to the hospital “blew up”. It was determined that the repair would be around 80,000 Naira ($500 US). After 7 weeks of inaction, the Hospital and surrounding community decided to come up with the money so NEPA would fix the transformer.

TransformerThankfully the hospital is blessed to have a large generator to power the full compound. However, due to the high cost of fuel, the generator is only ran from 11am-1pm Monday-Friday. All non-emergency surgeries have to be scheduled during these times, back up batteries charged, phones charged, computers charged, etc. etc. Anything of importance has to be crammed into two hours. Anything beyond that, like an emergency surgery has to be ran off of a small generator similar to one that you might have at your own home.

TransformerThis is an expensive problem to have and the constant need for fuel is a challenge in itself. Two times a week I have my maintenance foreman Moses load up a van and he has to go purchase 210 liters (roughly 100 gallons) of fuel just to keep the small generators throughout the hospital going. Our family is affected by this as well, we use around 10,000 Naira ($70 US) of fuel a week. All of this said, I have not explained the most costly part of this, the high cost of life. With no power, a person dependent on an oxygen concentrator or a baby in an incubator face a huge challenge to stay alive.

When NEPA had finally shown up to fix the problem, I got a moment of relief. But that soon faded as they showed up with no tools, no ladders, no ability to really fix anything. With the blessings of the Revitalization project at this hospital, we were able to “help” them get their job done. Most recently we’ve used wrenches, pipe fittings, epoxy, ladders, trucks, and our John Deere tractor to aide them in the swapping out of a transformer. The last two days have been spent with them to get this done and I am glad to say that the hard work has paid off. The power is on!

NEPA lightsWhen our red and green lights are on in our house, we are really excited. Not because we are celebrating an early Christmas, but because we are celebrating the fact that the power is on!

  1. james eicher says:

    We are so grateful you all are there to support and help the people. Have had a love for Nigeria for many many years. Had dear friends who were missionaries there at the Baptist Seminary for years. Their names were paul and Eveline Miller. Love, Grandma Eicher in Texas

  2. Joseph O. says:

    Used to be National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) but people changed the acronym to Never Expect power Always (NEPA)

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