Saturday, October 22, 2011

Electricity 101: How To Clean A Battery

Kenscoff is located in the mountainous areas of Haiti. So the weather is always cold, since we are so high up, and electricity and hot water are huge luxuries. Most of the time when I am up in Kenscoff, there is no electricity or hot water. I have learned to equip myself with all types of battery operated devices to help me function when night time falls. The only thing that gets tricky is my camera’s battery. I usually charge it full and that can last me through couple of days here in Kenscoff with careful use. This time, however, there was a huge problem, because I was not able to charge it fully before coming to Kenscoff. We didn’t have enough gas for the generator in Lamardelle, so for a couple of days we didn’t have electricity, which was why I couldn’t charge my camera’s battery. Then at Delmas 41, there was no electricity either, on the day that I was there. And now I am in Kenscoff, there’s always never electricity. So there we have it. Now I am in Kenscoff and I have to take monthly photos of all the children for their adoptive parents, and I have only one bar of battery left. Oh boy! What to do? What to do? So out of desperation I spoke with Ms. Deleau, the leading nurse here, and she talked to Roberto to come and turn on the power inverter.

Today I learned that both at Lamardelle and Kenscoff, the generators run on gas, but in Kenscoff we do have an extra power inverter that runs on eight batteries that is hooked up on the side of the orphanage. Being the inquisitive girl that I am, I found myself hovering over all the electricians when they were getting ready to set up the power inverter. Oh boy, it was quite a sight! The electricians were pouring all kinds of liquids and powders on the batteries to clean them. I always thought that you couldn’t pour water on a battery in fear of getting electrocuted, but apparently that was not the case. I have so much to learn! I was so excited at this opportunity to further my knowledge on electricity.

So here’s how one cleans a battery in Haiti:

Step 1: Twist off all the washes and screws on both the negative and positive knobs.
Step 2: Grab a handful of baking soda powder and place a good amount on each of the knobs.
Step 3: Pour a small amount of white vinegar on the powder. Wait for it to react!
Step 4: Scrub profusely with a brush on the knobs and handles of the battery.
Step 5: Pour water over the battery to clean off the residue.
Step 6: Screw back all the parts to the battery.
During the cleaning process.

After cleaning! 

It took about a good 45 min to clean all eight batteries. It got quite difficult to see toward the end since the sun was setting. This was when I busted out my flashlight to help with the cleaning efforts. We finally got it all cleaned and now it was the big moment, time to turn on the inverter machine. We turned on the machine and then a switch handle to ignite the power and a FLASH of light comes on and disappeared as quickly as it came. WHAT? We kept on trying with different switches and it just didn’t work out. SADNESS! All that work and the inverter was not working. We had to go to plan B, which was the generator that was running on gas. We did not have enough gas for very long, so the electricians told me: “Lori, you got one hour! Max!” I ran toward my room and plugged in all the electronic devices: phone, camera battery and computer.

Most importantly! I jumped in the shower and took a five whole minutes of semi-hot shower! Life is good! I was so happy that tears were actually coming down my face. It has been so cold at Kenscoff, so this semi-hot shower felt like heaven to me. 


  1. mmm girl, the first hot shower I had in Haiti was after ten weeks... it was probably one of the best sensations EVER! I totally relate to this update! Much love, Danielle

  2. you can take as many hot shower as you like when you come home..........

    love mom+