7/8/13 – Stories From the Field: This guest post is written by Trang Tran, an MBA student from Vietnam in the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise program, who is working with local non-profit Trees, Water & People on the solar lamp distribution project, Luciernaga.
Honduras welcomed us with a big applause in the airplane after the successful landing on a narrow and steep runway in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. The air was warm and damp, which smelled like home to a girl from a tropical country like me.
The whole country of Honduras was built in mountains with steep, small and potholed roads everywhere. The notion of paved roads was fading away as we drove away from the city. Dirt road upon dirt road were interrupted only by the rivers and springs. The car acted as a wild animal which ran on the road, swam over the rivers and climbed on rocks. If you’re not used to that type of mountain road, one way to have peace with your ride is to get buckled up and close your eyes until the car fully stops at your destination.
We arrived in Guayaba, a rural area 6 hours west of Tegucigalpa. This community is considered relatively electrified compared to many other rural communities in Honduras thanks to collaboration between our partner Trees, Water & People and the German international development agency, GIZ. Each family we visited had about two light bulbs on average. One is placed in front patio of the house to guide people home, and one is placed in the kitchen so that mom could cook in the evening.
A family hosted our meals during our stay in the community because there were no restaurants in the area. The lady of the house welcomed us with a warm smile and a big hug. Her name is Daisy. She is about 30 years old, and has five kids and one more on the way. She spends most of her day in the kitchen, preparing food for the whole family. When we got to Daisy’s house, it was already dark. Never in my life had I experienced that type of darkness, a very thick dark that makes you unable to see anything around you. If you’re not able to light your way, there’s no way you could see anything at all. Dinner was served under the lighting of one of the two compact solar lights that Daisy’s family bought from Luciernaga a year ago. She was happy when asked about the lights, and stressed the fact that it was a good purchase for the family as they could have lighting for a long time without further investment.
What Daisy said really made our day. It may just be one family and one experience, but it confirmed the fact that there is a demand for solar lighting, even down the worse roads of rural Honduras.