There is a road in eastern Kenya that winds its way through dust-filled lands to a remote village where the people are as tenacious as the arid plants they live among. Resilient and strong, they look for hope in desperate circumstances.
Their daily struggles consist of meeting basic needs for food and water in persistent drought conditions. They walk up to 10 miles each day to get water and carry it home on their backs. This water often comes from a bore hole dug in a dried up riverbed where children can be seen herding thirsty, malnourished goats. Food is scarce in this area of Kenya. Most edible vegetation has dried up in the dust and what remains is hard won through hours of foraging the barren landscape. Yet amidst these harsh conditions, we found great joy, happiness and dancing to celebrate a new reason for hope. The very element that has been a scourge on their land increasing their daily struggle for life can now be celebrated as a reason for hope; the power of the sun.
Currently, only 10% of rural Kenyans have access to electricity. The only source of light and power available in most villages in Africa comes primarily from wood and kerosene. Wood is scarce and requires hours of scouring the land for enough to cook with and boil water for safe drinking. Kerosene is often too expensive to buy for families living on less than a dollar a day at the current cost of $1.30/liter. New Vision Renewable Energy has developed a portable solar light system that uses clean energy from the sun to store power for use in the dark. We have brought this light to Kanzui, a remote Kamba village in the Mwingi District, and for the first time they will have a clean source of light and power.
Muia Kavilya, a mother of 11 struggles to meet the needs of her children on a daily basis. Pictured here with two of her sons, Muthui and Vundi, she faces the camera to tell her story. Muia had to make a choice that no mother would want to make; which child to send to school. She cannot afford the required uniforms and school supplies for both, so only one can go. Without an education, children in Kenya will likely not make it out of the circumstances they live in today and this generational cycle of poverty will continue.
Muthui, the son attending school, must study in the dark each night most often by firelight while food is cooking when it is available or by kerosene using a small homemade lamp that emits noxious black soot and fumes in their small 6’ X 8‘ mud hut. There is no ventilation. On this particular night of our visit, Muthui has devised a light using two alkaline batteries and a small bulb revealing shadows of three small beds, a single chair and a table. Muthui turned away from his open book to greet us warmly in the dim light as we entered his home.
When the solar light came on, his face lit up with joy almost brighter than the LED light illuminating every corner of the room. Muthui knows what this light represents to him and his people on so many levels. It means the money they would spend on kerosene can be used to buy food and water or even send his little brother to school. It means their eyesight and respiratory systems will not be damaged by soot and fumes. It means parents can make sure there are no snakes or scorpions lurking in their children's beds and when there is need, they can administer first aid if someone is hurt. All of this is possible because of a light that is powered by the sun.
Please consider making a financial contribution to help mothers like Muia, provide a safer environment with more opportunities for education and literacy to their children.
New Vision Renewable Energy is a grassroots organization committed to creating cost-effective innovative renewable energy solutions for community development on a glocal level, addressing the needs of those in the U.S. and around the world. This solar light is one way we are empowering people with a means to live better lives in a sustainable way.