“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.”—bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions (via suzywire)
“do not let a moment go by that doesn’t remind you that your heart
beats 900 times a day
and that there are enough gallons of blood to make you an ocean
do not settle for letting these waves settle and the dust to collect
in your veins.”—Anis Mojgani (via creatingaquietmind)
“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours. It is an amazing journey, and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”—Bob Moawad (via julie911)
SUNNY countries are often poor. A shame, then, that solar power is still quite expensive. But it is getting cheaper by the day, and is now cheap enough to be competitive with other forms of energy in places that are not attached to electricity grids. Since 1.6 billion people are still in that unfortunate position, a large potential market for solar energy now exists. The problem is that although sunlight is free, a lot of those 1.6 billion people still cannot afford the cost of the kit in one go, and no one will lend them the money to do so.
Eight19, a British company spun out of Cambridge University, has, however, devised a novel way to get round this. In return for a deposit of around $10 it is supplying poor Kenyan families with a solar cell able to generate 2.5 watts of electricity, a battery that can deliver a three amp current to store this electricity, and a lamp whose bulb is a light-emitting diode. The firm reckons that this system, once the battery is fully charged, is sufficient to light two small rooms and to power a mobile-phone charger for seven hours. Then, next day, it can be put outside and charged back up again.
The trick is that, to be able to use the electricity, the system’s keeper must buy a scratch card—for as little as a dollar—on which is printed a reference number. The keeper sends this reference, plus the serial number of the household solar unit, by SMS to Eight19. The company’s server will respond automatically with an access code to the unit.
Users may consider that they are paying an hourly rate for their electricity. In fact, they are paying off the cost of the unit. After buying around $80 worth of scratch cards—which Eight19 expects would take the average family around 18 months—the user will own it. He will then have the option of continuing to use it for nothing, or of trading it in for a bigger one, perhaps driven by a 10-watt solar cell.
In that case, he would go then through the same process again, paying off the additional cost of the upgraded kit at a slightly higher rate. Users would thereby increase their electricity supply—ascending the “energy escalator”, as Eight19 puts it—steadily and affordably. Simultaneously, the company would be able to build a payment record of its clients, sorting the unreliable from the rest.
According to Eight19’s figures, this looks like a good deal for customers. The firm reckons the average energy-starved Kenyan spends around $10 a month on paraffin—sufficient to fuel a couple of smoky lamps—plus $2 on charging his mobile phone in the market-place. Regular users of one of Eight19’s basic solar units will spend around half that, before owning it outright. Meanwhile, as the cost of solar technology falls, it should get even cheaper. The company hopes to be able to supply users with a new, low-cost and robust sort of solar cell, printed onto plastic strips, within two years.
The scheme has so far been tried out among a couple of hundred Kenyan families. With the aid of a charitable loan to accelerate its roll-out, Eight19 is planning to disperse 4,000 solar units in Kenya, Malawi and Zambia over the next two months. If the idea works, solar power will have a whole, new set of customers and the days of the paraffin lamp may be numbered.
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”—Paulo Coelho (via kari-shma)
“I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.”—Sylvia Plath (via creatingaquietmind)
“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.”—Buddha (via sleepypsychedelia)
“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live…
“I begin to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good, either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”—My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl (via creatingaquietmind)
“The concept of portraying evil and then destroying it - I know this is considered mainstream, but I think it is rotten. This idea that whenever something evil happens someone particular can be blamed and punished for it, in life and in politics is hopeless.”—Hayao Miyazaki (via sugarfree)