When you help orphans in different countries, sometimes you have to think outside the box for things they might need. And sometimes the solutions are ones we take for granted. For example, the children in the Matibo Kinship in Uganda know what it’s like to sit in complete darkness. They know the terror of hearing a noise outside and not being able to see its source. And if they need to work on their homework at night, they have to huddle around a small kerosene lamp. Straining their eyes to make out the words and breathing in the strong fumes from the burning fuel.
This may surprise you, but reliable electricity isn’t always available in Uganda. And most people simply don’t have electricity at all. According to the 2014 census, 20% of households in Uganda have access to electricity. And Matibo, along with many of the other Kinships, is part of the 80% without it.
Even if a household has electricity, it’s likely that they won’t have it 100% of the time. Unpredictable power outages can strike at any moment. They last for days, weeks, or even months at a time. Anything from rotten electrical posts to missing transformers can be the culprit. So Ugandans have found other ways to keep their houses lit. Some of the more popular methods are by using gas generators or solar power.
But what are your choices if you can’t afford either of those options? You’ll probably end up using a small open-flamed kerosene lamp. Although some light is better than no light, these small flickering flames do little to solve the problems that darkness brings.
What’s It Like for an Orphan Without a Night Light?
- When darkness descends, it snuffs out any hope of the children finishing their homework. If it’s incomplete when the sun goes down, their last resort is to use the small kerosene lamp, which creates complications of its own. The firelight is dim so the kids struggle trying to read the words on the page, which is terrible for their eyesight. And when the lamp burns, it gives off strong fumes. Both of which can negatively affect the children in the long run. It’s an awful choice: do badly in school, or gamble with your health.
- Safety and security are additional Kinship concerns when it comes to nighttime. As would be expected, darkness complicates the job of a security guard. A sound in the distance could range from a curious animal to an ill-intentioned thief. Very little can be done about a perpetrator you don’t see coming. And moonlight is hardly strong enough to help a security guard discover the truth.
- Moonlight also isn’t strong enough to light one’s way to the bathroom. Something you may not know is that most Kinships build their bathrooms outdoors. Don’t worry, this is extremely common in Uganda! But, it does make walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night difficult. It’s certainly not the same thing as walking down the hall. Requests for flashlights or motion-detecting lights near bathrooms are one of the most common requests we get from the Kinship kids. They’re terrified they’ll encounter a nasty insect or wild animal. But most of all, they’re just afraid of the dark, like most kids are!
You Can Take Away Their Fears
Just thinking about creepy crawlies waiting in dark bathroom stalls makes me cringe! What about you? The good news is that there’s a significant opportunity for you to light up a Kinship, and it’s not difficult to do! You can save a student’s eyesight and brighten her path to a successful education. You can settle the nerves of an anxious security guard keeping watch over a Kinship. You can help keep kids like those in the Matibo Kinship safe.
How can you do this? Give now, and your gift will go towards sustainable light sources for the Kinships. Depending on the size of your gift, you can provide solar-powered lamps, battery-powered lamps, or even generators and wiring! You can directly impact the everyday lives of every man, woman, and child staying in the Kinship Home or attending church. Wouldn’t that be an amazing feeling?