“The problem with troubleshooting is that trouble shoots back” ~ unknown
Troubleshooting is a systematic approach to solving problems. But, living in a tropical developing country…nothing is systematic or normal. We’ve spent countless hours trying to troubleshoot electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and computer issues. And the solutions to most of our problems have been anything but normal.
Steps to troubleshooting in first world countries:
1. Gather information on the issue
2. Eliminate unnecessary components in the issue and see if the problem still persists.
3. Check for common causes. I am sure you’ve read troubleshooting guides and the first question asked is, “Is your device plugged in and turned on?”
This is where I will start as your guide to troubleshooting in a developing country because seldom are the causes normal or usual.
So, Let’s get Real about troubleshooting in Nicaragua.
1. If your internet suddenly blinks off, it could be because…
c. A bird builds a nest on your tower internet dish.
2. If your electricity suddenly blinks off, it could be because…
a. You forgot to pay your bill, or the guy on the bicycle didn’t deliver it, so they come to your house and cut the electric line in half…really!
b. There is a fiesta or bullfight in the next town and they need the power.
c. Your neighbors are stealing your electricity
3. If your cell phone signal is low, it could be because…
a. You have an active volcano in your yard that blocks the cell phone tower.
4. If your water stops running, it could be because…
a. It hasn’t rained for 5 months so the city has no water and the wells are dry.
b. Your neighbors are stealing your water by redirecting the water line to their house.
5. When your drains are clogged it could be because…
a. A giant Cane Toad is sleeping in your drain pipe.
a. Geckos laid eggs inside your TV near the sound component.
7. If your electric socket or surge protector sockets seem to be plugged up, it could be because…
a. A colony of ants has a busy tiny city in your socket.
b. A gecko got trapped inside your light switch trying to lay eggs. Check for putrid smells of death around the sockets.
8. If your laptop overheats, it could be because…
a. It is full of fine dust, or ants, or other bugs
b. It is so freakin’ hot, you could fry an egg on your laptop. Buy a cool pad with a fan and keep your laptop in a place where air can circulate around it.
c. The humidity and heat have caused your battery to swell and burst out of your laptop.
9. If your e-reader or Kindle suddenly starts acting strangely, it could be because…
a. Teeny tiny book lice have entered the charger hole in your e-reader to make a cozy home. Just shake gently and they will fall out. And Yes! Book lice are real. They invaded my Kindle.
10. If you find mysterious looking holes in your carefully maintained grass, which you have tried to grow for years, and it is the only lawn in a neighborhood full of dirt yards, it could be because…
a. The neighborhood dogs have found their power spots and it’s cool and comfy.
11. If your motorcycle or car runs rough or hardly runs, it could be because…
a. The gas station’s gasoline tanks are filling with water during the downpours.
b. Someone stole a spark plug when you were parked at the grocery store.
12. Your electronic equipment, refrigerators, microwaves, and TV suddenly stop working, it could be because…
a. Your wiring isn’t grounded and a lightning storm created a surge of power that fried your electrical appliances.
b. Constant blackouts and brownouts are wrecking havoc with your electrical appliances and equipment. We have a universal power supply system that protects our TV and laptops against brownouts.
It’s a jungle here! Troubleshooting in a developing country requires thinking outside of the common causes we encounter in first world countries. Using a clear and logical approach seldom solves the problems we encounter in Nicaragua. The solutions usually involve clearing ants, parrots, and monkeys away from the problem areas. 🙂
There is no substitute for experience. I’ve tried to capture a few of the most illogical troubleshooting problems we’ve encountered in living in a developing country. So, the next time your water, or electricity, or electrical appliances are on the blink…remember to look for these solutions. I hope it saves you some time and frustration.
What unusual troubleshooting problem have you encountered? How have you solved the problem?