With winter having given way to spring, the rising temperatures and the promise of a searing summer around the corner have Mmegi Correspondent, GALE NGAKANE, hot under the collar
I may not be a genius, but like everybody else, I am entitled to my own opinion and thought, independent of everyone else. Some thought and opinion may appear weird, others outlandish, yet others the very panacea people have been looking for.
Long time ago, people walked all over to their destinations. They carried their luggage, and off they went, even if it took ages to arrive where they are going, they still marched on.
Same with telephones. People then could only shout at each other over the fence, or utilise pigeons to send a message to faraway places and the message would be brief enough so the bird would not be weighed down by a heavy load of word upon word.
But then someone sat long and hard. What should I (or we) do to make people arrive faster at their destination?
It is said when the inventor eventually suggested he or she could make something that can travel over 70 kilometres overland, he was either laughed out of court, or taken to an asylum for people with damaged brains.
Ditto for the telephone, radio, electricity, aeroplane and others that make an inexhaustible list.
I live in a very hot country. Right now temperatures are rising, and I believe by the middle of September it will be so hot unless you live in air-conditioned surroundings, someone would start having ideas of frying eggs on the tarmac.
In the last few days, it’s been relatively cool, but by 11am, just five minutes is enough to send you running to a shaded place and or reaching for a cup of water. The suffering will increase with time, until a point where it will be indistinguishable from Hell, if there is such a place, only to subside as next winter steps in.
Worse, there may be casualties in the process as people have been known to die from overexposure to heat.
This year, and two more years down the line, climate change is said to be readying to unleash its worst weather conditions ever.
In the context of Botswana, the heat will be much more intense this year, and rising every year such that by 2021-2022, it will have upped by two or three percent.
My recollection of last year and a good part of this year’s heat is still fresh in my mind. Up until April. It was so hot, some people died from the exposure. The heat was everywhere, inside and outside the house. On the streets, in the masimo, cattleposts, large and small villages, towns and cities. In the shade and in the open spaces. It was everywhere. It was like the onset of purgatory where sinners are to endure everlasting fiery torment, gnashing their teeth in the company of Satan.
In my opinion, these harsh and austere conditions are a challenge to the intellectuals and creatives that populate our countries.
What if someone with technical expertise and know-how researches the invention of portable air-conditioners in the mould of cellular phones? Can’t it be done? Say either government or some NGO, instituting a research into the feasibility and/or viability of such a product.
When people still depended on archaic communication facilities like landline phones and writing letters to relatives, it could take one up to a week without knowing the death of one’s uncle.
Now the cellular phone has revolutionised communication such that I now have access to people I would never have dreamed of talking to. The good thing is, one is just a call away from one’s kith and kin. The comfort is so blissful!
However, the bliss will be complete with the invention of portable aircons, patented as PortAircons, and taking the route of cellular phones by being made affordable to the general population. The results of the research on the portable aircon will be or should be made known immediately so that at least by 2020 the process of manufacturing the gadgets will have commenced. Five years later, the heat might have increased such that only those with aircons everywhere they go, stay or sleep. For those without, catastrophe will be the name of the game. Hell.
In fact, that should be the time the aircons would, or should be bought across the counter like any other merchandise and confections bearing brand names of multinational companies like Sony, Samsung, etc. It should be easy to handle - just shove it down the pocket and buzz off.
Once you buy it, you may take it with you if you have
You may stand a bit outside such an office and apply the aircon ala perfume. Or, as soon as you get into the house, you’ll apply it in order to expel the heat that characterises most homes in ghettos like Gaborone’s Bontleng and Naledi, and Monarch and Maipaahela in Francistown.
These are people whose homes are usually one-roomed tin structures, which become infernos comparable to the ones biblical kings entertained their friends with by tossing people deemed criminal, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were thrown into a fire for refusing to obey King Nebuchadnezzar.
An angel appeared and rendered the heat impotent.
But in these ghettos, residents risk mugging, and worse even being killed by thugs as they spend nights in the open, if only to just get a whiff of air that usually is also hot as if a volcano had erupted nearby and the lava is just around the corner.
In such circumstances, the portaircon would come in handy.
Sometimes, you will be lying spread-eagled, mouth agape on a mat under a not so shady tree, or on the veranda or the house, a wet handkerchief in hand desperately mopping the forehead, while thrashing about like a whale in troubled waters.
With the aircon, you can just put it aside and press the button and the cool breeze will waft about you, sending you to slumberland in no time.
I’m not talking a fan here. There are countless fans in the homes around, but when it gets really hot, the fan becomes a very useless investment. African countries are usually divided into cities, towns, townships (high density areas), villages, and for Botswana, cattleposts.
Both cities and towns have housing that varies according to people’s incomes and tastes. The villages likewise.
In the context of Botswana, there are high cost houses, medium costs and low costs. Then there are Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) houses, so called because owners borrow money from the council to build structures themselves on their plots. The high cost and medium cost houses normally have aircons while the low cost and SHHA ones are without, unless the owners install their own aircons, at exorbitant prices.
Usually in these places, when it gets hot the very small rooms become unbearably hot. SHHA areas are predominated by one-roomed shacks and tin houses called mekhukhu.
The heat there is an all-night punishment that breeds insomnia in the residents leading to their bodies’ immune system being compromised.
But with the aircon, it’s a breeze for everyone. At night people sleep indoors with the aircon humming in the bedroom. They wake up in the mornings well rested and ready to work hard.
In the homes where aircons are installed, tempers will be rational such that even gender-based violence will abate as couples will have more time together and their brains will not have been frazzled by the heat. I know of a man whose wife always complained that he spent most of his time at the bar. They would quarrel over that. The guy would simply say there was aircon there. Here at home, there is nothing.
“Besides, I get to cool myself with beers,” he tried to mitigate. In cold weather, the guy is the most faithful, arriving early at home and being around with his flame.I repeat, from time immemorial, people have made inventions that today give so much comfort to users, but it is a well-known fact that such people were laughed out of court, or simply dismissed as raving lunatics.
So do what you can do with this fact at the back of your mind and also the fact that sometimes, good ideas spring up in times of dire straits as we are slowly but surely approaching such times when it will be a do or die.
I hope you are frantically moving about trying to get started on a project that is set to revolutionise the world.
Your actions must be able to bear fruit at least by 2020 because in 2021, just three years from now, climatologists have predicted that the world temperature will have increased, and that Botswana is going to bear the brunt of a fiery period.
So, if it was hot by December 2017 and it is going to be just as hot if not hotter this December, we should brace ourselves for worse come 2021 and onwards.
The portable aircon will be the universal panacea.