Lights for Communities, I decided to walk along the Andes in the dark, because I knew I would find a family living there, in a very cold and dark house. It would be easy to find a family that did not have any power at all. Perhaps there is a lack of interest from those in power for these people forgotten by civilization. But whatever the reason, the fact remains: so many of my people do not have a simple light.
On my chest I was wearing a d.light S10 lamp with a small built in solar panel. The light was so bright that I could have assisted in a birth within a 5 meter radius. This was true, even in a darkness where you could only see the stars of the night. But the homes I was seeking were actually a few kilometers from where I started my walk. In my solitude, my whistle echoed, and someone answered me. I continued on my way, not knowing where my responder went, down the slopes next to streams running ice cold from the melting snow.
I met a man who invited me to his small home made of stone with a thatched roof. Inside there was a kerosene burner, which only lit an area one meter in diameter, and it created a very strong odor. This presented a constant danger to his small home, not only because of the smoke in his house, but because of the possibility of starting a fire. He was alone, for his children were in the village because it was a Wednesday, a school day. I was still wearing the d.light S10 on my chest, and it illuminated parts of his house that I am sure he had never really truly seen before.
I left my lamp with him, exchanging the darkness of his house for a big smile to stay with me as I continued on my way. I had some more d.lights in my backpack, and my intention was to find a whole family that could benefit from one. These lights do not pollute the environment, they are made of a very sturdy material, are very well made, and are cheaper and safer over time than kerosene or candles. They will give a much better quality of life to the mountain people.
On hearing the barking dogs again, I came across a settler who was surprised by my presence in the darkness. His name was Ignacio Sallo. He invited me to his home, which I found in the same condition as the previous home. It had a kerosene burner which lit only part of the kitchen and the mud floor. His wife, Laura Sinchi, was breastfeeding her little one year old girl, Kati Sallo. At the table, hardly visible, were their two small daughters named Roxanne and Delia.
They spoke Quechua, the language of my ancestors - the Incas of this continent. This home is where I brought lights - the d.light S250, S10 and S1. Turning the lights on was like shining sunlight inside of their house. They were surprised by this! We took the d.light S250 and put it on the ceiling and turned it on. They had light! Tears ran from their hearts because they had lived for so many years like this, and their children were still living in the dark. But today, thanks to solar energy, they could see the four corners of their home. I gave the girls the smaller d.light S1 to try. They naturally started to grab their notebooks and do their homework. It was so cute to see the positive change in their faces and their lives.
I gave the d.light S10 lamp to the father. He told me thank you for this, for helping our families because they will not need to buy more batteries which end up polluting our land and our water. Mama showed me a little bit of fabric she was knitting to sell at the market. “Now if I could use the light I would be able to work on this for many more hours in a day.” The father said that these lights would help him in many other daily activities. Of course, he told me, you must visit other families in the mountains - they will show the same gratitude for this light. It is not expensive and may open the door to many new opportunities for those who have less.
I am bringing these lights to our communities so our children can have light and this will help them do better in their studies, and their parents can have light to do their daily work and income producing work past 5:30pm when it gets dark in the mountains. If you would like to help me do this, send a donation to: www.pathoftheheart.org or email to:firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Thoughts We really appreciate your love and help. The need is very urgent! Thank you very much for your support.
See the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLCD6pxV-zw&feature=plcp