Thursday, July 06, 2006

Stolen copper wires


I just heard this story about copper wire stolen nearby from a communication company. I didn't know this happened in the US.

Nineteen years ago, my family lived on TinCan Island in Lagos, where we hadn't electricity for a long stretch. The power outage went on for weeks, longer than normal for that time and place. The reason was stolen copper wire.

We cooled off on mats outdoors on the veranda, sharing riddles and stories. My father explained what sea breeze was. We fanned the twins, who were then babies, with a raffia fan. The joke was that they were oyinbo, because they were born into air-conditioning and couldn't endure being hot.

In Lagos of the eighties and nineties, street light parts got stolen - lamps, wires, and metal. Once, during a fuel crunch, some people poked a hole in a remote petrol pipeline and as the news travelled, people rushed to fetch petrol as they fetch water - in kegs and buckets and open basins.

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