If batteries could speak, they would tell tall tales, bragging about the things they have done to keep us going.
When Babu brought home a small great wall television set to my home on Christmas morning when we were younger, I was elated, to say the least. Do not get me wrong, I enjoyed the everyday shenanigans with the neighbourhood kids but I had seen a TV while visiting my uncles in the city. I could finally pitch in as my cousins shared stories about the latest telenovela. The battery was placed on a stool next to the wall unit so that it could power the tv, and that was its spot for many good years.
You see, my home, Giakanja was located in a small town at the corner of Nyeri County. Electricity was not a commodity we were familiar with so alternative sources of power had to suffice. I do not remember much about that first battery – I was only six at the time. All I remember was that it had a big red stamp at the front – Chloride Exide. That name got so entrenched in my memory, I thought Chloride Exide was a synonym for battery. Kind of like how I thought Thermos was the synonym for a flask – what can I say, I was not a very knowledgeable child.
Needless to say, our electricity woes did not end there so I was privy to using that Chloride Exide battery. For others, the chloride battery was the source of power to the vehicles. To me, it was the basis of many childhood memories. This battery powered all our entertainment gadgets; well the TV and the radio. If its charge died out, so did we. Well metaphorically of course, but back then missing an episode of ‘La Muja de Mi Vida’ felt like dying. So we cuddled its acidic juices so that we would not miss our shows.
The battery also served as a lifesaver. We owned a car; a little red rusty door squeaking car. It was not much, but it got us to where we wanted to go, at least sometimes. As you can imagine, the battery was as old as the car so many times it malfunctioned and thus we had to drag the home battery outside to give the car a boost so it could start. We couldn’t switch the batteries because that would mean leaving the house without any other source of power. What followed was a tense ride to school as we prayed that our trusty old car would not shut down on our way there. Well it did, more times than I can remember. However, that is a story for another day.
After a couple of years, the heavens would smile down upon us giving us a little share of the Kenya Power and Lighting Corporation bill. So just like that, the battery was set aside. Placed somewhere in the corner of the garden store, it was forgotten. But can you blame us? It was like experiencing the first rays of sunlight after a long and cold couple of days. You become so happy you forget how cold it really was. Soon we joined the community of Kenyans who in case of a blackout rushed to the KPLC Customer Care twitter page complaining of their dying phone batteries oblivious to the fact that they were using up their battery to complain.
However, life has a funny way of bringing back old memories. Later in life during the holidays, we (extended family and friends alike) were all set to visit the countryside, as is the tradition. My uncle, however, suggested to break the monotony for once, we should all go camping and bond in the wild. Everyone seemed to agree with the idea, shake things up a bit. A couple of days in the great outdoors, what could possibly be wrong with that idea? You see, when you get used to something for such a long time, your mind starts presuming that it exists everywhere-like it grows on trees. So it took us (my cousins and I) a while to realize that ‘the great outdoors, meant that there was no electricity meaning we couldn’t use our phones. Being the typical millennials we are, the idea of spending days without our phones was not quite feasible to us – the idea was as puzzling as those complicated math equations in school. So we formed a committee and approached the man who has come up with this disastrous idea to go camping ready to lynch him.
‘Relax. I have got you covered. You will not miss one WhatsApp post or one twitter trend. I promise.’ he had said laughing.
We knew that he was mocking us but we decided to trust him. A day before the trip, we decided to follow up on his promise. I remember him leading us to his car then opening up the hood. A battery? Now how was that going to help us? However, I stared at it for a while. It looked different than I remembered. It had a blue and red sticker labelled ‘Chloride Exide Powerlast’. Seeing our utter confusion, he led us to the dashboard where he showed us what he called a ‘power inverter’ where the cigarette lighter used to be.
‘With this, we can charge our phones, use it for lighting and power our small electric cooker.’ My uncle shared with us.
The truth is, we didn’t quite understand how it works. We were just happy that we would use our phones for the duration of the trip. That battery charged our phones, powered lightning equipment, charged auntie’s laptop and we even blasted the car’s headlights all night long during our last night there. Not to mention that it drove us back to the city without any hitches.
However, seeing the battery and what it could do had sparked a little curiosity in me. My ignorance had led me to believe that all the battery could do was power the TV and ensure a car got us from point A to point B. Not to mention that I was curious to find out what this new Powerlast battery offered that the other older model did not.
The truth is with the right tools and a little research, people in Kenya are using the Chloride Exide Powerlast battery for various other uses. In areas where electricity is not readily available, business owners use batteries to light up their establishments. Simply using a power inverter, wires, and a bulb, you can light up your work area for as long as you want. You can also charge your phone or laptop while in your car. The battery acts as a source of energy enough to power your phone to maximum capacity. Some cars do come with direct USB ports but for those that don’t, switching out your cigarette lighter with a power inverter can also work. There are technical ways to directly charge your phone using a battery though that requires a little more information from an electrician lest you risk damaging your phone.
The battery also comes in handy during camping trips such as ours for portable lighting. This way the campfire will not be the only source of light. You can also use the battery to power small cooking equipment for your meals. Just in case it gets cold, one can carry a small catalytic heater which can also be powered by a battery. One can also use it to power up a gaming system. This gives you the chance to really enjoy your camping trip without giving up all the other little luxuries. The beauty is, using the Chloride Exide Powerlast is cheaper in the long run because it requires no maintenance and it is extremely long lasting.
Need a new battery? Worry not, Dial A Battery has got you covered. Just simply dial 0719 080000 or 0722 203150, 020 4008000 or 0733 333340 if you are in Nairobi, Mombasa or Kisumu and an experienced technician will deliver the battery to wherever you are, then install it all for free. What more could you need from a battery provider? There is so much you can do with the Chloride Exide Powerlast battery, not just power your car. Here are tips to make sure your car battery lasts for years
What memories do you have of Chloride Exide growing up? Elsie shares her memories of growing up in a rural home where our TV was powered by Chloride Exide