“Let there be light” is an English translation of the Hebrew יְהִי אוֹר (yehi ‘or) found in Genesis 1:3 of the Torah, the first part of the Hebrew Bible. In Old Testament translations of the phrase, translations include the Greek phrase γενηθήτω φῶς (genēthētō phōs) and the Latin phrases “fiat lux” and “lux sit” (Wikipedia).
Light is a precious commodity in our neighborhood in Rwanda. Volunteers are frequently astonished by how dark it is after 6:00 PM in Rwanda. Our close proximity to the equator allows for a variation of less than 30 minutes of sunlight during the course of the year. Typically, the sun is shining brightly by 6:00 AM and it is almost completely dark around 6:00 PM.
As you can imagine, it is difficult for anyone to study in a home without electricity. Many homes in Rwanda do not have any access to any electricity. Other homes only have access to “cash power,” a pay-as-you-go method of paying for electricity. Sadly, when the cash flow stops, the electricity stops.
Thankfully, nearly two years ago, John Keith, one of our Hope Angels, began a campaign to procure and deliver solar lamps to the most needy families in the Hope Haven Rwanda community. He traveled to Rwanda to deploy the first round of 250 solar lamps in February of 2020.
John was pleased with the initial results, but wanted to find even higher quality and more resilient versions. After researching and negotiating with both American and African experts, he landed on an improved version, which lasts up to five years and includes a more durable switch.
In the midst of the pandemic, Susan, John, Leah and I dreamed about ways to get the lamps shipped from Kenya and distributed within our community. After weeks of discussion, John and Leah decided to join Jason in Rwanda in October of 2021 to personally deliver the next batch.
During this iteration, in coordination with Hope Haven’s Family Department, led by Priscillah Kembabazi, with a master’s degree in social work and deep personal relationships with most of our nearly 900 students, we chose to initiate a “Solar Lamp Lending Program.”
On a cloudy, and occasionally rainy day, we met with groups of the most needy families in our community. A representative from each family signed an agreement which not only allows them access to the lamps, but provides follow-up and repair options as needed.
I love these incredibly comprehensive projects! From research to procurement to delivery in the field 8,584 miles from Denver, John and Leah “let there be light” for hundreds of vulnerable families!
You too can be part of one of these comprehensive community outreaches. Do you have an idea that will help us serve more effectively?