Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society Patrick J. Ryan, S.J. is spending a month in Africa, a continent where he previously lived for 26 years. During his time there, he will be blogging about his experiences. Here is his second post:

When I arrived in Abuja, Emmanuel Dyeltong, a driver for Loyola Jesuit College, remarked that “NEPA is really trying these days.” That sentence, not perhaps immediately intelligible to the stranger, means that, in his opinion, the Nigerian Electric Power Authority is delivering the goods more regularly in Abuja lately.

Thursday night, I found this generalization somewhat challenged. During supper with the Jesuit community, NEPA went off three times. Michael, the man in charge of the 500 kV generator for the school compound, can be heard on his motor scooter heading for the generator. The roar of the generator begins. Then NEPA returns, and the roar stops. Five minutes later the same scenario is repeated. And again, ten minutes later.

Cell phones prove very useful at these sudden onsets of darkness. Several of the Jesuits at table use them for illumination as supper continues. Much easier to find the salt and pepper.

“Let there be light.” I felt I was back in Nigeria last summer at Rose Hill when part of the campus was without power for a few days. What struck me at the time was how quiet the much larger generators hired in at Fordham were.