There is still no electricity in La Yacata
I have been down and out lately about the distance we still must cross for electricity in La Yacata. I’ve pretty much given up hope of Moroleon completing the 2 kilometers of posts and wires that would illuminate our streets and our home. Yes, you read that correctly. TWO kilometers separates us from the last viable electric post. It’s just not profitable enough for Moroleon to care that residents in La Yacata have no electricity. (See The Birth of the Revolution)
With the advent of adolescence and the plethora of electronic devices available, my son has also expressed his frustration with the lack of connectivity and recharging options. It goes without saying that no electricity means no home internet either.
My husband seems the only one untroubled by our lack. He uses the truck radio when he wants music and that’s pretty much all he wants. As a result, he’s been less than enthusiastic about my ideas.
My brother sent me
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope (P.S.)some time ago, as inspiration I expect. In it, a 14-year-old boy designed and built a windmill that positively changed the quality of life for his entire village. My husband and the plomero (plumber) up the hill have been promising me a windmill for nearly 10 years now. Every time I bring up other options, my husband counters with the statement that he’s going to make that windmill any day now.
Until that windmill gets built, I’ve been trying to do alternative research on my own. Every prepper website has directions for a DIY solar generator set-up. Well, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I just can’t do it myself. One issue is my lack of electrical know-how. Of course, there is the plomero (plumber) up the hill who was also a US licensed electrician before deportation. However, he’s not all that reliable these days. His wife left him a few months ago and he’s been on a drinking binge ever since.
Even if we could catch the plomero between binges, there is the lack of materials available in our area. Solar water heaters are readily available–but nothing in the way of solar generators. We do not want a solar water heater because it’s just not feasible for our home setup. In order to have a solar water heater, we would need to elevate the tinacos (water storage containers) at least a floor. However, the local water truck refuses to fill tinacos (water storage containers) that are above the second floor. They say it’s “policy” although I suspect more laziness since the trucks are new and the water shoots out super powered and the pipes would reach…but I’m not in charge of policy. So our tinacos are on the roof of the first floor, which is technically the second floor. And even if we put the tinacos on the roof of the second floor, I would still count it as being on the second floor and not on the non-existing third floor but the water truck dudes disagree. So until such time as policy changes, we use a gas boiler to heat our shower water. Our stove is also gas, so we can cook just dandy without electricity as well.
Lacking local solar generator parts options, I tried my hand online. Amazon and Ebay offer kits that we could possibly afford if we sold Myrtle (the vocho) and saved another 6 months, not including shipping. Yet again, there are issues. I will not order from Ebay again and Amazon does not accept Paypal payments.
I even tried contacting a few people that might be “in the know” about such things, but I have yet to hear back from any of them.
What I think we’d be good with is this setup,
Go Power! Solar Extreme Complete Solar and Inverter System with 480 Watts of Solar. However, being a newbie means–well that I don’t know if this would be adequate or not.
So for the present, the dream of electricity is just that, a dream. We’ve lived nearly 10 years without it, and realistically in the grand scheme of human history, electricity has only been available to the masses for the blink of an eye, so do we really need it?
Well, yes and no I suppose.
If we had electricity we could recharge our phones, kindle, portable DVD players and laptops at home. Right now we haul the rechargeables to the school where I work and charge there. We also have the option of plugging the devices into the lighter in the truck or Myrtle, but we have found that overuse of this option is hard on the vehicle batteries.
If we had electricity we could use the blender–but we use the blender now with the AC/DC inverter and the truck battery.
We could turn the lights on and cook now since it gets dark at such an indecent hour with daylight savings time and all. Now we use candles.
The kindle is an older version that doesn’t have a backlight like this one
Kindle–it’d be nice to not read by candlelight and just flick on the bedside lamp.
If we had electricity we could use a washer for our dirty clothes. Right now we head to the arroyo (stream) and wash there. Although we may not need electricity for a washer. Yirego is advertising pre-sale for their foot-powered washing machine. Of course, at $239 USD it’s still out of our financial grasp, but perhaps the price will come down in time.
It’s doubtful that even if we had electricity we would use it for a fridge. We’ve become so accustomed to buying fresh meat and produce, in daily portion sizes, that we have very little left over at the end of the day. Anything that won’t be good for the next day, we share out with our chickens, cats, and dog.
We also aren’t much bothered by not having a television. There’s never anything good on anyway. We do like to watch movies but are just fine with our little portable (and rechargeable) DVD player. Unfortunately, our DVD player battery will not charge anymore. Finding parts (in this case a replacement battery) is a nightmare here and buying online with shipping is iffy at best. We recently purchased another DVD player and it’s fine for now, but eventually the battery will wear out as well. The same issue crops up with my laptop. My battery doesn’t hold a charge. I use it only at my place of work. My son’s laptop is new, so charging and taking it home works just fine, although there is no internet at home. Of course, transporting it might not be an option during the rainy season.
So I suppose I should be more lackadaisical like my husband. Living without electricity is entirely possible, we’ve been doing it for quite some time now. And why should I expect the luxury of electricity and all that it entails when 1 in 7 worldwide lives without access to electricity? For now, it remains a wish, hope, a goal or something along those lines.