Electric Blues

Following the devastation of Hurricane Maria that decimated Puerto Rico all eyes were appropriately on them and people here in fear of how can it be, in this modern day, to be without power?  At one point Puerto Rico was down to 20% of the country having power.

A police officer walks next to damaged electrical installations in Guayama, Puerto Rico. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Contrast that to everyday Haiti where they are now up to record high 12% of the country with power.

I am reading a Pulitzer prize winning book called “Evicted” and it talks about the 3rd most stolen thing in the USA is electricity. You could have given me a million hints, ability to Google that, a phone-a-friend, and 30 guesses and I would never have come up with people stealing electricity.  “As much as $6 billion of power was pirated across America every year. Only cars and credit cards got stolen more”….  “We Energies disconnected roughly 50,000 households each year for nonpayment.”  (Evicted p. 15)

Another struggle for Haiti – apparently – is they don’t have enough electricity around to pirate it.  I asked a friend recently who has family living in a really poor area of Guadalajara Mexico and he tells me his family “hooks into it” when I asked how they have and afford power.  Steal it!?

For our micro-loan partners, we are helping a couple villages of 700-800 people where there is no electricity.  We are also working on various micro-enterprises that will operate on solar powered generators.

Power was down for months for people living in Jordan’s village of Caniere. No government to help step in to fix things like transformers. Community residents have to pool together to get things like this repaired.

At Adelove’s Market we have had dozens of people looking for solar powered lamps.  We plan to sell some day soon at each of our markets in Rampa and elsewhere.   They run about $100 US.

Other micro-enterprises we are planning to have soon that also will need solar-energy to power them include a bakery, salon/barber, cyber cafes, alterations shops, as well as, our markets that we have started…both currently operating without electricity or non-natural light.

There is endless sunshine in Haiti, so relying on the sun to be out a lot is not a concern for solar energy.

Our moto taxi drivers charge their cell phones by using charging cord that gets charged while they are driving the motos.

Slowly but surely, Puerto Rico’s residents are getting power back.  100 days since the hurricane went thru they estimate about 55% of the people in Puerto Rico now have power.

People in Haiti use these solar lamps in their homes to read alongside or for safety at night time.

Just more than half.  That’s 4x more than have power in Haiti.  377 miles separate Haiti and P.R. in the Caribbean.  But a lot more than that separates them from getting reasonable living conditions that we would find palatable.


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