In the States, losing power during a storm renders us almost completely useless for the few minutes we’re without light. But in places all over Roatán, entire communities live with no electricity, or go for long stretches without. Some time ago, David and I spent a night on St. Helene without electricity, and I learned to cook by the light of a single candle. For me, it was a unique experience, but for our hosts, it is a way of life.
The day we arrived was business as usual. We visited families in the community, checked on our projects and, as always, I worked with the ladies on the handbag initiative. Normally we take the dory back to Roatán by 3:00 to have enough daylight for navigating the reef, but that night we stayed on the island with our friends and hosts, Lindon and Kera Martinez.
The final hours of daylight were spent watching routine evening activities on Helene. The ladies played a lively game of Bingo, while the men slapped down dominoes on boards that thundered with each play. Throughout the game you could hear their laughter and good-natured ribbing.
The sun always sets early in the Caribbean, and by 6:00pm it was dark. That meant dinner would be made by the light of a single candle. Kera prepared a delicious meal of stewed meat, coleslaw and potatoes with ease in a room where I could barely see. When it came to the conch soup, she gave me a hands-on island cooking lesson, knowing it was my favorite.
The most important part of a great conch soup is tenderizing the meat. Kera let me use her special wooden club to beat it. But even by the dim light of that candle, I could see the slippery conch oozing out and splattering all over her walls with each strike. After quite a bit of laughing on Kera’s part, she took over for me – thank goodness!
We had such a lovely evening cooking and visiting by the light of that candle, but it was dark, and candles are extremely dangerous in the wooden homes on the island. Thankfully, Kera and her family have been spared from any house fires, but they are all too common. Thanks to our generous donors, Kera received a Luci Light from ALF which is a much safer and brighter alternative to candles.
Kera, and people like her across the island who have received Luci Lights are grateful to no longer cook solely by candle light. Over the past 3 years, the Abundant Life Foundation has distributed over 2,500 Luci Lights to communities across Roatán and we are so proud to continue sponsoring this initiative each year. Won’t you help us this year to Light Up more homes on Roatán?
-Brenda Dachner, September 2018
About Light Up Life:
Through our partnership with MPowerd, our Light Up Life program provides sustainable, solar-powered Luci Lights to families and individuals with little to no electricity across the Bay Islands. These lights provide a safer solution than candles for islanders who are left in the dark after the sun sets at 6:30. Any gift big or small makes a huge difference. Give here today to light up life with us!