Project Launch: 4-9-18
While the Darién is the largest province in Panama geographically, it is the most sparsely populated. In the Darién Gap, instead of roads people use the rivers, in place of skyscrapers there are towering trees, and in lieu of people, there are jaguars, snakes and harpy eagles. Due to the inaccessibility of the region, infrastructure and development projects are limited. Unfortunately, this isolation is felt most by the indigenous people. Within the Darién, there are two semi-autonomous indigenous enclaves collectively called the Comarca Emberá-Wounaan. The community of Boca de Trampa is an Emberá village on the more remote Sambú side of the Comarca. There are no roads nor is there electricity or cellular network coverage.
The community is developing a solar light project so that every household can enjoy light in the evenings. Each home will receive a solar light kit that includes a solar panel, a rechargeable battery and three pendant lanterns. While everyone in the village will benefit from lighting, the women and children are the primary beneficiaries. Women cook dinner with flashlights squeezed between their collarbones and chins, children do homework by candlelight and families often eat dinner in the dark. Women also help support their families by weaving artisan plates and baskets, but it can be difficult for them to work during the day with their other household responsibilities. With light in their homes, women could maximize valuable evening hours. For the residents of the Boca de Trampa, the next crucial development step is lighting the night.