A near tragedy and our eyes were opened to how dangerous candles are.
We have been using candles when the electricity goes out from the very beginning at Urukundo. The electricity goes out most every day for a time and that time is usually at the evening meal. Since it is dark by 6 pm and dinner is 6:30 pm, light is necessary for the kids to see to eat. It was time for devotions so I walked up to the homes. The children were still in the dining room - the lights were out and candles were lit. The first thing I saw was 6 year old Nelly holding a burning candle and trying to get it to stand up. This apparently is not unusual because no Mama paid attention. I went to Nelly and took the burning candle from her, and told her how dangerous it was. While I talked to Nelly, Becca, a four year old took a lit candle from the table without being observed since the lighting was very poor.
She went into the little girls' bedroom. We heard a scream and thank God she had not closed the door. She had set a box of papers on fire. Flames were shooting up. Becca was screaming. The mamas handled the fire well before it got out of hand while I took care of a frightened Becca. The point is it never should have happened. If the blankets, curtains or her clothes had caught fire it would have been a tragedy I could not live with.
That night was a warning. There will be no more candles used in our compound.
Our friends THE WILLIAMS FAMILY from Michigan some time ago started a solar light business in Kigali. They had given us some for free and some at a discount. We used them in our guest rooms and each night guard had one. The Boys' Home had one and there was one in the Girls' Home but they did not keep them charged. The nursery had one but did not know where it was. Why did I not think about the dining room? Our eyes were opened and each table in the dining room will have two and every room in the kids house will have one, thanks to an appeal to HMR's board of directors. They really came through and the kids will no longer be in danger from burning candles.
Our need was for K-lights for the dining room. These are the solar lights available to us here in Kigali City.
They are also for sale in the US and work better than flashlights that need batteries.