Back Early

My hiatus was shorter than promised. Now I am back, on light duty for the weekend with a sore throat and permission to eat ice cream…What more could a overweight middle aged man ask for? Before anyone asks, I have been having a persistent hoarseness over the last few months and the wife finally convinced me to have it checked out. The ENT specialist found some very tiny lesions on my vocal cords. Today he did a slice and dice for a biopsy and we will get the results next week. Due to my weight and sleep apnia there was a very good chance that I would be spending the night. Turns out it wasn’t required, so I am home and under doctor’s order to take it easy, rest my throat, and enjoy some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla.

While I am sitting here catching up on my reading I came across the following op-ed that reminded me of a story on the Pacifica Station here in Houston that I heard yesterday as I drove to my pre-op appointments.

Sometimes thinking small can get things done. To bring artificial light to an isolated village or refugee camp could require building an enormous hydroelectric dam, followed by laying hundreds of miles of cable. Or it could take the donation of a $10 solar flashlight.

As Will Connors and Ralph Blumenthal reported in The Times recently, the entrepreneur Mark Bent, through his company SunNight Solar, has developed and manufactured a solar-powered flashlight that gives up to seven hours of light, before recharging, and can last close to three years between battery replacements. The flashlight retails for around $20 in American stores, but corporate donors have gotten them for aid groups at half the price, a deep discount but still a profit for Mr. Bent.

Source: Lighting the Way – New York Times

Pacifica had Mark Bent on their program as his company is located here in Houston. His BOGO Light is amazing, and the distribution method is a work of art. BOGO stands for Buy One Give One, and for every light bought for $25 one light is delivered to Africa and distributed. Lights are also sold at discount to organizations for distribution around the world. And the amazing thing about these lights is they are ecofriendly.

It seems that the NY Times did an article on the lights earlier in the week that has generated an enormous amount of curiosity (and emails to Mark). From the Bogo Light website the following info was gleaned…

The BoGo Light is a scientific, eco-friendly breakthrough that is making an impact worldwide. From Cairo to Cape Town, from the Caribbean to the Amazon, it is improving the lives of individuals, families, and entire villages by replacing costly kerosene, candles, and disposable battery flashlights with an affordable, long lasting, solar flashlight.

Two billion people living in the developing world rely on kerosene lanterns, candles, and single-use battery flashlights for light at night. Not only are these options expensive, dangerous, and harmful to the environment, they also negatively impact health, education, and security.

From the radio yesterday and the company’s website it sound as if they are about to bust out. Mark Bent is a former US Diplomat having spent many years in Africa. They are partnered with the World Bank, and the UNHCR.

The Future – The task light is just the first step in our effort to change the world. Here are some of our exciting plans for the future.

  • We have nearly finished development of a room illumination system based on the same components as our task lights – a photovoltaic panel, double AA rechargeable batteries, and light emitting diodes.
  • Much of the developing world lacks access to clean water, so we will begin developing a solar powered water purification system.
  • Too many newborns in the developing world die from conditions easily preventable with proper lighting. We will shortly start researching and developing a solar powered light that can help newborns suffering from jaundice.
  • We want to help build a self-sustaining Africa: Africans helping Africans. To this end, our parent firm (SunNight Solar Enterprises) will partner with African small businesses and entrepreneurs to sell our products abroad.
  • We will continue to expand our present philanthropic efforts, supporting individual orphanages and schools in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.

Looks like I am going to be investing in some solar lighting for my home…Why don’t you look into it yourself?

Later Folks…