It’s funny, but kind of sad, but mostly funny how long it took me to realize that stuff breaks here A LOT. Actually it wasn’t until we came back from our summer in the US (where nothing broke or broke down) that I realized just how much stuff breaks in Dakar. Maybe it’s the salty sea air, power surges, low-quality materials, low voltage… or all of the above?
In our first two weeks back in Dakar we’ve had the water pump fixed, the washing machine fixed twice and the masonry on the entrance repaired and also replaced both a voltage regulator and a fan that just…stopped. The deep freezer is awaiting the repairman, as are two blenders and two other voltage regulators and one guest toilet.
I posted a question on Facebook to find out if all of this is normal or if we are just extra bad at buying things that are horrible quality. According to the responses that flew in, we actually have it pretty good. We haven’t lost any major appliances to power surges or flooding, so yay!
A few of the replies I received…
“In 6 years in Senegal we have had 5 irons, 2 TVs, 2 washing machines and 2 fridges… All surge protected.”
“My brand new water pump died 3 times in a row. Top that.”
“Thank you for posting this. I was getting so frustrated over all the repairs I’ve needed to make in the last couple weeks. The plumber and electrician need to have frequent client cards. Fix the toilet 10 times get one fix for free.”
“In the past month: toaster fried, TV fried, microwave fried, one AC possibly fried, um, toilet leak. Yes. Was similar in Rwanda, but not quite as bad.”
“You are spot on, everything breaking down all the time. In the last week alone we had to replace an AC. Repair the washing machine. Repair a leaky toilet. Replace light bulbs in a bathroom for the gazillionth time. Replace 2 UPSs that burnt out. Not to mention the demise of my BF the dishwasher. May she rest in peace. I now have the most expensive microwave oven stand in Senegal.”
“This has been our year for our electronics to go out! The iPhone, the Kindle, the computer, the TV. So frustrating!!! Sharing your pain!!”
“When we returned to Senegal after a year’s absence we quit counting once we hit 30 repairs or replacements. It was way more than that!”
“We went through two dishwashers and several blenders in the six years we were there, and I suspect some of the A/C splits need to be replaced…”
“I thank God for the B-grade materials and harsh environment that gives me frequent opportunities to build relationships with my plumber & electrician… and I’m grateful the labor isn’t expensive too!”
While I hate that others are dealing with this continual state of brokenness as well, it does make me feel better to know that it’s not something we’re doing wrong or poorly. It’s just part of life in Senegal.
Now hand me the phone. I need to call a plumber.