Atauro Island has a population of around 10,000 people. The main income for the population comes from fishing. Biqueli , the area where I am based in, is divided into four main villages: Pala, Uaruana, Ilidua, and Iliknamu. In Pala, the government has recently installed the electricity! Finally. But still, people here can only enjoy power for six hours a day from 6PM to midnight. The three other villages are still hoping to get that facility eventually. This is why the work that Kopernik and the local NGO Move Forward are starting now with the distribution of 200 units of d.light S250 solar lights is crucial and the future beneficiaries are highly enthusiastic about it.
On Saturday July 14, we shipped the d.lights from Dili to Ataúro on the ferry. We had to be there very early as there were a lot of people carrying goods from Dili as well as cars, trucks, motorbikes and chickens! So, in order to get enough space for our 17 boxes of solar lights, we were there at 7am even though the ferry was only leaving at 9am. As our precious boxes were safely placed, we then simply enjoyed a nice two-hour trip to the island. We even had the pleasure to see some dolphins jumping around during this trip!
Jemima, Move Forward's staff, taking care of the boxes in the truck
Once we arrived in Ataúro (the dock being located in the village of Beloi) we had to wait until everyone got out and all the goods unloaded before we were allowed to unload the lights, which took almost one extra hour. We had previously arranged a truck to pick us up and drive us to Biqueli, a 5-km ride from the ferry harbor. We stored the boxes in Move Forward’s office, awaiting to be delivered to the families. The d.lights will be necessary and will be appreciated by the families as they will allow them to do different activities such as fixing their fishing nets at night, baking bread early morning and for the kids doing their homework at night and walking to school early morning.
As Biqueli hosted the Celebration Cup on the 18th of July last week, people from all villages (some of them living quite far away in the mountain) would come to Pala. So, it was the perfect time to bring them all together and proceed with the distribution of these solar lights. We already received a list of 497 families from the chiefs of villages who were interested in buying a solar lantern. However due to the limited quantity of the d.lights, only 200 of them would be selected to receive the lights. Do you want to know how we distributed the d.lights during the Celebration Cup? Stay tuned for my next blog next week..