Thursday, February 15, 2007

Turn on the lights

Looking at community priorities on a 1-10 ranking system, I dare say that having electricity is right at the top. Most of us take it for granted but for the dwellers of Poço Branco Bosque (where Bosque Santa Lúcia is located) it has only been a dream. Individuals and committees from Poço Branco have lobbied regularly for installation of electricity for decades but to no avail. The bottom line was always the small numbers of rural families to benefit from several kilometers of power line, compared to some suburban areas (mostly invaded lands) where hundreds were asking for electricity. Politicians don't count sheep, they count votes. In an attempt to get more families residing in Poço Branco, the president of the community petitioned me, in writing, to subdivide our forest reserve into small residential lots. I think this was around 1987. Maybe doing so would have justified asking for electricity but it wasn't going to help the forest reserve. So, here were are 20 years later and it appears that electricity is on its way, thanks to President Lula and his national rural electrification program. His platonic aim is to hook up every rural home with electricity by the end of his second term as president. Seeing is believing! I couldn't believe my eyes this week when I saw this pile of concrete poles deposited alongside the road next to the Bosque. Projection is that we'll have lights within the next two months.

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