Saturday, June 27, 2015
“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” — Genesis 1:3
The picture at the right is of just one of the lights that comes with the kit for which John has done all the programming. As I said yesterday, each kit comes with four of these lights. I made some mistakes in yesterday’s blog, but John has patiently explained them to me (he has to do everything patiently with me). Every kit comes with four lights even the bigger kits (I said the bigger one had more lights—it doesn’t). I also said the lights never burn out, but they do—in ten years. I will burn out before they do, so that sounds like a lifetime to me. I also said that the big kit would run a television and a refrigerator, but I was wrong again. The solar power is DC (direct current) and would take a very special refrigerator to run off solar (they are available but extremely expensive). I was partially correct about the television because each big kit actually comes with a DC television set and a satellite decoder (all included in the price). Tanzania has many satellite stations that are free: news, music, sports, and some movies, so this is a pretty big deal since it’s included. That should take care of all the mistakes, so now you know all that is needed to know. Our workers went crazy over seeing what John was doing (none of them have power in their homes), and they all wanted one. When we explained the cost, none of them could afford the down payment, so we made a deal with them. We would pay the down payment ($15.00) for each if they would agree to make the monthly payments ($5.00). They all agreed especially because one of the really neat things about this deal is that all payments require no cash money but are done with MPESA or AirtellMoney via their cell phones. People here send money all over the country and back and forth to members of their family using these services. We pay our own satellite bill by MPESA and it is really convenient, doing it by cell phone. As backward as we are here in so many things, there are areas where folks in developed countries are behind us. We do not pay for cell phone calls received, only having to pay for the calls we make. Here, there is a thing called “pinging” where you call and let the phone ring just once because you are out of minutes and hope that the person you are calling has some and will call back. The phone companies will also advance you enough money to make important calls and you can send minutes to other phones if you want. It seems kinda strange to see a Masaai warrior in full dress walking with his spear and then taking a cell phone out of his robe and making a call (don’t know where he keeps it and don’t want to know). Back to the solar kits, they only had four of the big kits on hand and seven people wanted them. This thing is going to take off in a really big way. Once some people have them, many, many more will want them. Let there be light indeed.