Sunday, February 19, 2017

Let There Be Light

There is some big news in my village! But before I can explain, I need to be sure you understand my little village.
We are fortunate to have a nice playing field across the river from our village (be aware that they don't have creeks here—every stream is called a river). You can see the big green playing field beyond the village in the photo above (the school is located on the far side of the playing field).
Nearly a year ago, the government announced that our playing field was to be one of just five fields chosen from throughout the island to participate in a project to try solar powered lighting. It took awhile for this project to come to fruition (not uncommon in developing countries), but at the end of January, the light poles were delivered around our field. On the morning of February 1, I snapped the picture above (from the second floor at the school) of a rainbow hovering above our village. In the foreground, you can see some of the poles resting on the ground. A few days later, a large sign was placed along the roadway for all to see, as shown below.
Finally, last Sunday, a construction crew erected the light poles, with the solar panels, LED lights, and battery boxes. The first few nights of the bright lights shining through the evening darkness was quite a sight for us to see. In a village where the onset of darkness often meant the end of a long day, the glow from the new lights was other-worldly. Plus, after trying to teach students about solar energy, it is nice to have a real-world example so they can better appreciate the concept.
Prior to the lights, there would often be large groups playing football (soccer), ranging in age from my older primary school students to teenagers to twenty-somethings. However, their games always dissipated as the darkness set in for the night. Now they are going to be able to continue their games much longer. [Hopefully this won't impact my students doing their homework. However, it will make it more difficult to hold my Space Station watch parties that I have enjoyed holding on the dark open field at night, but sometimes one must sacrifice for progress.]
I almost posted this story last week when we were all still so excited about it. However, I think it is better that I waited to tell “the rest of the story.” After the first few nights, it became apparent that there was a problem. The lights were often burning during the daylight hours (as shown above), and not operating after dark. Perhaps it is controlled by timers that need to be set properly? We have heard that another field nearby is experiencing the same problem. We are all hoping that the experts return soon to alleviate this problem (because there is nothing we can do to fix the problem). It is a beautiful marvel to behold when it is working properly, as shown below.
One other potentially positive aspect is that the lights may also be beneficial to the new basketball/netball court we will be building this summer on the edge of the playing field. There are still spots available on the “Courts For Kids” work team if you are interested in coming down here July 21-29. Also, as explained in the last paragraph of this earlier blog post, you can make a tax deductible contribution to this important project for my village. Any amount will be deeply appreciated—just click the link near the end of that story. It will be a big help! Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. Just thought I'd share with you just how much I enjoy reading your blog. Your voice is so authentic and makes me want to read more! See you soon (hopefully).