Monday, September 23, 2013

A Light in the Dark

     There was a program featured on Oprah some years ago that tried to get a laptop for every child in the third world.  It was One Laptop Per Child.  I was struck by the first pictures of the effect of a small portable computer on a village on another continent. Often, these portable educational devices were the only source of light in village without electricity.  

     As a mom, the first thought I had was, Is that safe?  Did that light draw attention to the little hut? Could they protect themselves from attack?  It kind of freaked me out.  The fundraiser insisted they were all low jacked so the device couldn't be stolen.  But, I have seen some awful human behavior in my life and a lojack does not protect you from a machete strike.  

     Imagine being the only light in the dark for hundreds of square miles.

     Often during storms and after, we are without electricity for long periods.  The nights are darker than dark.  Then, in the dark, a light will shine out.  A neighbor with a generator, a friend with a collection of solar lights, whatever the source, the light shines in the darkness.  
  I have heard a man curse his neighbor across the street because one had a generator and one did not.  The talk was crazy!  They had similar incomes, homes, expenses, but you would have thought the man with the generator had eaten his neighbor's dog!  We heard all the dirt that ever occurred between the two for twenty years.  And, the cause?  One had lights and a generator.  One did not have a plan.

     During a blackout, this is not the time to leave on the porch light.  Even if you have a generator and plenty of light to spare, you may think you are helping others by shining a light of hope.  You are shining a target.  You are sending an invitation to the less 'connected', you are painting a target.  

    In an apartment complex, imagine, if you are the only one with lights, you are the only point of interest.  You may think you know your neighbors, but you just wait.  Let the lights go out and be the only one with light and see who comes knocking on your door.   In my neighborhood, generators are stolen at night while they are still running!  

    I have been the target of talk, myself, when I took my landscape lights indoors one night a drunk took out a light pole.  It got back to me that I was too rich to live in my neighborhood.  Outrageous!  If I were, I wouldn't live here!  I wouldn't be blogging about saving money and prepping on a shoestring!

    In any disaster, if you are staying in, get some black out curtains.  They will be worth the investment.  Blackout curtains allow you to sleep in the day if you are working a night shift.  They can keep the baby calmed for several years, always sleeping in the dark.  They can spare your good drapes from the burning damage of the sun.  They offer added insulation and the first line of security in the darkness.  In World War II blackout curtains were the law!  A house light can be spotted from the air and that light would lead the bombs to your front door! 

     Tips for blackout curtains:
If you can see light coming in during the day, then light can be seen coming out in the night. 
If you have a nice insulating pair of rapes, you can add a liner to make sure there are no thin spots.
$8.98 offers blackout curtains, they are locally available at your Bed, Bath and Beyond and your thrift store often has cast off curtains with years of life left in them.  

Have a light in the dark.  I encourage it.  Don't be the only light in the dark!

No comments: