A Gift of Light
In October of 2017 when we trekked to the Upper Dolpo to visit the schools, we took 15 portable solar lights. The cost of each light is ~ $20 US. They provide ~ 150 lumens and can be hung like a lantern – a very practical design. We wanted to test their durability and usefulness so only took a few.
Kunsang provided complete instructions and within an hour, many other villagers were asking for “light?”
In 2018 we were able to deliver 125 more lights. Fire from yak dung or kerosene lanterns is the only light source for most households here and the resulting indoor pollution causes pulmonary and eye disease. These lights have proven to be extremely useful and durable; as a general light in the home, to travel to the toilet at night; to help students read and study in the evenings, and to visit neighbours. Most unexpectedly, they seem to keep snow leopards away from their animals at night when they are grazing them in their high mountain summer camps!
Many of the older adults suffer from very poor eyesight due to exposure to long hours of sunlight working in the fields at 14,000 feet elevation. (A doctor visiting with Nomad’s Clinic said “that when he looked into their eyes with an ophthalmoscope he rarely saw a “red reflex”—the red light bouncing off a healthy retina. Instead, he saw the opacity of eyes beginning to form cataracts from long exposure to the blazing sun of the high-altitude desert.”) They say these lights have really improved their quality of life.
We are able to purchase these lights at a considerable discount for charitable purposes through LuminAID and offer very special thanks for their help!
LuminAid shipped the lights to Kathmandu. There was some difficulty clearing the shipment through customs in Kathmandu but our good friends at Happy Feet Mountaineering Pvt. Ltd. were able to navigate the requirements in time for them to be transported to the Upper Dolpo and distributed to the people identified by Pema.