Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Lights Arrive in Kahkabila

On March 26th, 2009, after numerous years of unfulfilled election promises regarding the extension of the electricity grid to Kahkabila, after several weeks of brush-clearing, equipment delivery (poles, bulbous transformers, by boat), intermittent visits from national electricity provider ENEL, and disagreements regarding connection fees, the streets were finally made navigable at night for the two neighborhood gringos. “The lights,” as the electrical grid is affectionately known here, have arrived in Kahkabila.

We were lucky enough to be present for the installation and early transition period, and we’ll be headed back for our final stay next weekend. There are now fifteen yellow streetlights lining the dirt paths of Kahkabila, and, while only a small handful of residents (less than 10 households out of about a hundred) have been able to front the connection fee of ~$30, in general everyone is very excited about the possibilities this opens up. We were the only ones who really needed the streetlights at night, and while predictable shifts in television watching and later bedtimes are already in motion, it's hard to find fault with the recent proliferation of homemade ice cream.

Below are pictures from the technical installation process:

Perhaps, you imagined a truck of some sort?

...or a bulldozer?

...maybe a crane?

If you did, you should know better by now.

Even Sheidy thinks you should know better by now.

Even this gentleman in a not-so-subtly juxtaposed photographic composition thinks you should know better by now.

...but he's probably thinking about something else.

He's probably thinking about baseball, or his long-buried fear of heights, or the deep satisfaction of easing the nighttime footsteps of gringos.

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