NDINDA: Thanks to faulty AC, stifling heat robs me of sleep

Wednesday June 03 2020
ndinda pix

With my AC malfunctioning, I have to settle for a ceiling fan, which I dread since watching an episode of 1000 Ways to Die. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


My sleep is disturbed, so disturbed, in fact, I cannot count the number of times I get up in a matter of just a few hours.

Eventually, after oscillating between bursts of sleep and catching up on social media, I finally drag my heavy head out of the bed at 1.30pm – I simply cannot stand the draining heat, and it is clear that I will not be able to sleep peacefully.

The AC in my room malfunctioned two days ago, so it is unbearably hot. The faulty AC manages to give only a whiff of cold air, which I can feel only when seated right under it.

I had been informed that a repairman would be coming in the afternoon, and even though I am groggy with sleep since I was up the whole night, I force myself to get up and make my dishevelled self look presentable.

I even manage to wash a dress in the oppressive heat before taking a quick shower. I then get dressed and proceed to the lounge area to wait for the repairman. At least the AC here works.



I check Twitter again, check my WhatsApp messages and respond where necessary, then watch a video or two on YouTube of my two favourite comedians: Kenya’s Aunt Jemimah and Uganda’s Kansiime. Before I know it, I doze off, right there on the seat.

I am woken up several minutes later by the heavy footsteps of the young woman  who mans the front desk coming up the wooden staircase.

She picks my key off the table and says something about switching off my AC and then proceeds to my room. A few seconds later, I hear her loudly exclaim as she is hit by a wave of heat on her way in. I meant it when I said that the heat in Lagos can sometimes rival that in the coastal city of Mombasa.

The young woman returns a few moments later looking shocked, muttering to herself, probably wondering how I have been surviving in that heat.

The afternoon goes by quickly, and soon it is 6pm, yet the repairman is nowhere to be seen. My grumbling stomach tells me that I need to eat – I haven’t eaten since morning.

I go to my room and pick a pie I bought yesterday, then go downstairs to the kitchen where I warm it in the microwave before returning to my room to have it with some instant coffee.

I have resigned myself to the fact that the repairman will not be coming, and that I will have to do with the overhead fan, which I dread.

You see, I developed an irrational fear of overhead fans when I saw one snap off the ceiling and sever someone’s head, I think I saw that on 1000 Ways to Die. The alternative would be to change rooms but I am determined to hold onto this one because I have made it home for the more than five weeks I have lived here. This room gives me some comfort.

When I return upstairs, I find the fan running and the door wide open, releasing the warm air for cool air coming from the lounge. I leave the door open for a while to ensure that the fan flies out the room just in case it snaps off its cable…


Much later, I once again go downstairs to the lounge to make some fried eggs for supper. I have them on the balcony to enjoy some much-needed evening breeze as I watch the 9pm news on NTV.

I eventually go to bed, where I watch News Gang on Citizen TV then finish off with Green Calabash, a family oriented reality show on YouTube, which focuses on a Kenyan family that has opted to homeschool their children before I drift off to sleep ... only to be waken up 30 minutes later by the baby in the dream I told you about yesterday!

Ms Ndinda is Research Manager, Transform Research Africa Ltd. She is stuck in Nigeria, where she has been since March 21.                      

TOMORROW: As I count down the days before my return home, my church community in Kenya and that in Nigeria continues to comfort me every way they can – through prayers and comforting text messages. A friend even surprises me with an M-Pesa transfer, which I am really grateful for.