Charge my phone, pack a camera, do I have extra batteries? Fill the water bottle, bring a change of clothes, tie my sneakers. What time does the sun set? How hot is it today? Do I need bug spray? Suddenly I’m a bit hungry, I forget where I put the car keys, I need to get cash.
All of this effort went into my casual Saturday hike last weekend at Pikes Peak in Colorado. For just a hike, I had a list of ‘essential’ items, not to mention the list I could have developed for a full weekend camping excursion.
But what really got me thinking was how all of these may relate to life in developing countries. Although they may often be the same tools, they have different meanings.
Same tools, different rules
In Tanzania, all teenagers use phones to not only communicate but to make them feel independent, mature, and part of a larger community that connects them to the world. In Mozambique, the lack of clean water is nearly as sparse as safe transportation– without either, lives may be in danger.
In places where the heat reaches astronomical numbers, a little sun may not only hinder daily outdoor activity but the additional lack of safe indoor lighting can limit nighttime and indoor activity as well. Where malaria exists, bug defense technologies are not just tools to get rid of pesky and itchy bugs but instead a form of survival.
In rural Spain, hunger is not to be taken lightly when it reaches the point of starvation, and the economic downturn in the European Union led to not only a lack of individual cash but also a dangerous spike in unemployment that often led to increased suicide rates.
What is my point? That we take our “necessities” for granted; however, our tools are often no different than the tools used in the developing world and this can actually bring us closer together. The difference is the degree to which each is absolutely essential to its consumer, and the degree to which it can actually change a life.
As I hiked up Pikes Peak in sweltering heat, I let an N222 hang tightly from my backpack so that it was exposed to direct sunlight. At the top of the summit, I watched sunset fall over Colorado Springs and watched my light slowly turn on automatically with the surrounding darkness. Jogging down the path in warm Colorado darkness, armed with N400s and N222s, we were grateful to have light to guide us back down to town where our only problem had become our increasing hunger, thirst for more water, and a few pairs of tired legs.
Learn more about the technology used on this excursion:
N400s Nokero flashlights are the only product we have engineered to charge as effectively behind a plate of glass as beneath direct sunlight. Guess what that means? You can put it on your window with the included suction cup so that it charges all day and then switch it “On” on the side to be used as a flashlight for emergency or recreation situations at night. The N400 is bright enough to light a pathway about 3 feet ahead and best suitable for personal use rather than shared between multiple people.
The N222 is a miraculous product because it charges in direct sunlight (even when it’s turned off!) with no need for battery replacement within the first 5 years of use. As long as the black button is pushed “on” on the back, it will automatically turns on in darkness and will last for 4-6 hours on ‘high’ and 7-12 hours on the ‘low’ setting (after a full 6-8 hour charge in direct sunlight). It is bright enough to illuminate a campsite, a small room or hut, a patio, a garden, or a dark pathway in front of you while running down the mountain!
While hiking in Colorado, we plugged our phones into the blue USB outlet in the N222 and they continued to charge even after darkness because the product stores energy within the internal, rechargeable battery. Read more here about how the N222 and our other chargers work with different phones. After getting home, we could even add some extra ‘juice’ to the light by plugging it into the wall and using it to light up the dinner table. By plugging in any standard phone charger with a micro-USB end (think: Nokia or Android chargers), the red micro-USB port enables on-grid (“in-the-wall”) charging so that you are never left without power. While it is charging the light sits nicely in the base stand on my kitchen table or drilled into the wall above with the included screw. Click here to purchase your own N222 and send us pictures of the light hanging from your backpack or sitting on your table, because we want this light to work for you whether you live in a developed or a developing nation.