Entering the homes where there is nothing, small and with a metal roof, and seeing a light working is like finding water in the desert. They show me that light with pride, they are happy, they smile when they close the door and with a cord they turn on the light connected to a solar panel. This is what I witnessed today, when I went around with Odinel, 27-year-old boy who, along with another young man, worked to bring light into 93 Mare Rouge homes, thanks to the use of small panels. The parish project is led by Don Giuseppe Noli and Don Mauro Brescianini and is just the beginning: “We would like to bring the material for another 200 installations, but we have to solve first some technical issues,” tells Don Giuseppe. Surely we must continue because the light in the home helps young people to study, families to socialize, to prevent people from getting lost doing nothing around. To assemble these installations they gave give a small fee that doesn’t cover the entire service, but this is also a way to empower youth”.
Odinel tells me as we walk, between Creole and French, how was his work. With difficulty but we understood each other quite well. He has taught by Roberto Mariotti, the volunteer of Abbiate and electrician who is here in these days. To show me the results of his work, Odinel also brings me in some homes where there is light.
The home of Blandine is just outside the centre. A small brick structure where the hostess greets us with a newborn in her arms. Another five children play outside the house. We are invited inside straightaway, a large room perhaps 20 square meters, with a window and three beds, clothes hanging everywhere. While she starts to feed the baby she turns on the light and smiles: “Lumè”.
The second house is farther. It is the house of Ismanie, the village school teacher. She has 33 years and lives with her mother: “Sometimes it works, sometimes it turns off, but it’s important to have it,” she says while brings us to the center of the brick house and **this time at least with a table in the middle of the room**. She turns on the light as well and with pride and smiles, showing also how it works: the roof panel is connected to the batteries in the window, which in turn connect to the strip of led lights.
Odinel then leads us in the last house we visit today. Is in the area called Belville, though to get there you pass between trees in the middle of the houses where people watch us and they indicate to us their bellies. We arrive to Vounette. She is preparing lunch and she talks with us while she doesn’t stop mashing the avocado. Around there are two kids who want to get the photos taken and see them. “The light works well,” explains Vounette. “Lasts about four hours, we use it well from 7 to 11. We are diligent and we turn it on to stay in the house without going to bed too early or using gas lights.”
While we return back Odinel is proud of his work: “When the light is not working I go into houses to fix it, but when they say that it does not last the four hours it is because they used the panel during the day to charge their mobile. They haven’t understood yet”.
Then he speaks about himself: “I’m in a family with seven children. **I am the first of them who has found a real job**. I studied until the second school and then I had to stop, having done this job has made me happy. It is not difficult, just connect the cables. But in this way people can get together without using the gas lights that make the house stink. I hope that we can bring these systems to all of the families. “
“I installed the system even at my parents house,” he concluded, laughing, “I was very happy and the first time we switched on, **in front of my father and my mother, you know what happened? It didn’t work**”.