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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Taken for Granted

This morning, I was in my flat taking a shower at 6 a.m., and wouldn't you know it????  The power went out.AGAIN!!!! I know I have written about the power outages here, and I admit they are very annoying.  But until the other day, I didn't really completely comprehend how fortunate I have been to have had access all of my life to safe power sources.  I met a lady who is a mother of a child at Elizabeth's school, and she had emailed a flyer advertising solar lights.  I looked at it and didn't really pay much attention to it.  Actually to be quite honest, I am not sure I even really read it....

 Then, the next day, she was talking to the other teacher, and I overheard her explaining that there are so many people here in Nigeria who are seriously injured if not killed from using kerosene lamps for lighting in their homes.  I have talked about the power issues (or the lack thereof ) in a previous post.  And to be honest, living here, it has just become something we all know about.  But, the huge difference is I live in a compound where the power is never out for too long.  There are people living in Nigeria who may see lights in their homes 3 days out of an entire month!  I never really thought about what they do when the power isn't working.  Some of them do have generators, but many people cannot afford them or afford the fuel it takes to keep them running.  I realized while I was listening to this lady talk that many people here do use kerosene lamps to be able to see.  Also, eye care is considered a huge luxury here, while in the U.S. it is just part of our regular check ups.  It never occurred to me until I heard her talking that there are so many people here in Nigeria who have very poor eyesight because of lack of access to good doctors, lack of awareness to detect diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts, and lack of lighting. "Lack of LIGHTING!!!!!" I thought to myself.  it never hit me until then what a luxury it was to have adequate light to eat dinner with my family or to read a story to my children. So many are straining their eyes to see in the darkness, and children who are in school learning to read have to strain to read their schoolwork because of the lack of power in their homes.  Click here to read an article about poor eyesight in Nigeria  I swear it was like something hit me and made me "wake up".  I had never thought of it in that way.  Access to power or light in particular is such an important part of my everyday life as I am sure it is to you as well.  I wouldn't be able to be sitting on my laptop typing out this blog at 9 o'clock at night without access to power and light.  But, there are  millions of people in Nigeria who do not have this luxury.  Please check out the website for these great solar lamps by clicking here.  If you live in Nigeria and are interested in purchasing one for any members of your staff, please let me know through my email in the "contact me" part of my profile, and I can put you in touch with my friend at school.  She never asked me to spread the word about giving light to people who don't have it, but I truly believe in what she is trying to do. Everyone deserves to be able to have safe dependable light when they need it. The next time you flip on a switch to turn on your lights, please don't take it for granted.

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