During my 10 days of trekking between the gurung-villages of western Nepal, I could really put my HiLight to a test. These villages lack both electricity supply and road access and when the sun goes down in the evening most activities come to an end. My HiLight attracted much curiosity and attention, often the only source of light in the villages except for some kerosene lamps, cooking fires and the occasional solar lamp offering a weak bluish light. Kerosene is both expensive and hazardous and is therefore used sparingly.
We used my HiLight all the time. The Himalayan sun is strong and after a day of charging, strapped to my backpack, we could charge both cameras and mobile phones apart from having access to proper light. We also used HiLight as a strong torch when heading out into the dark!
The use and knowledge of solar cells is generally widespread in Nepal and even in the most remote villages people know how solar cells can help them. Many houses have a small panel on the roof that provides enough energy for a couple of hours of weak light. Both the domestic government and foreign NGO’s are involved in distributing basic solar lanterns to schoolchildren in remote areas.
A product such as HiLight can really make a change in the living conditions for villagers like the ones we visited. Not only does it permit to keep studying and working after dark. It also offers efficient charging of mobile phones (otherwise charging possibilities is a big dilemma for villagers who have the opportunity to acquire a mobile phone) as well as other equipment such as for example a small radio via USB. Access to mobile phones and radios provide many positive effects; contact with the outside world, the ability to perform banking transactions, increased revenue opportunities, etc. I hope that more people will have the opportunity to discover the advantages of HiLight. For me, HiLight has become just as essential as my camera when I pack my bags for this kind of travelling!
Photograph in courtesy and by Jenny Bisther