Darker Days: Reflections of My Childhood

Darker Days: Reflections of My Childhood

  • BY WINNIE BOLO - necf intern

The first ten years of my life were paraffin powered. Recalling now, sibling rivalry in my household was propagated by a constant desire to have the well-lit, non-soot side of the lantern that somehow, my brothers always had. It was survival of the fittest and of course being the youngest of seven, I lost these battles. Always.

The first ten years of my life were paraffin powered. Recalling now, sibling rivalry in my household was propagated by a constant desire to have the well-lit, non-soot side of the lantern that somehow, my brothers always had. It was survival of the fittest and of course being the youngest of seven, I lost these battles. Always.

Spending the better part of my childhood without sustainable power undermined, not only my schoolwork, but also my socio-emotional life. At times, I had to sacrifice playtime so I could finish my chores and homework before sunset or risk falling asleep before my work was done. When all my friends where playing, I missed out on the fun. If we ran out of kerosene after nightfall, my siblings and I would have to navigate busy, dusty, roads to buy it. But my play and schoolwork were not the only things interrupted by lack of sustainable power.

My sister suffered from allergies and environmental asthma triggered by the daily smoke and soot in the house. She was subjected to mild bullying as a result of her sickly nature. People thought she was an attention-seeking moron, which was absolutely not the case.

Children should not live inglorious lives. They should live their lives to the fullest, free of worries, limitations or burdens that narrow windows of opportunity, not only for them but also for generations to come.

I was lucky enough to get through the rest of school with electricity in my home but this is not a reality for many other deserving children in my community. Many of my neighbors still live below the poverty line. No parent with a meager income would choose power over the one meal they can afford. To them it’s better to eat in the dark than starve in light.

 

Two weeks ago I went back to my home region to distribute solar lights at Kamolo Primary School with theNancy Ellen Crooks Foundation.  Working in a neighborhood not far from where I grew up, was thrilling and humbling at the same time.

Families came in masses to receive lights and as the children received their orange box with a little lantern inside, they beamed with pride and joy.

I would like to thank Project Glow for selecting my community to donate solar lights and d.light for their continued support of NECF’s Lights for Learning Project.

Winnie Bolo
NECF Intern