GUDDA, India (CNN) — In Gudda, a village with very little, residents are literally beaming. Just two years ago, villagers had never seen light after dark, unless it came from the moon. Then, solar light arrived and changed everything.
“When the lanterns first arrived, the villagers asked, ‘What is this?’ ” says Hanuman Ram, the local solar engineer. “I explained to them how it worked. Then slowly, as people saw it, they said, ‘Wow, what a thing this is!’ “
There are no real roads that lead to the tiny village in the state of Rajasthan in northwestern India, home to about 100 families. There are only thin strips of tar dotted with massive potholes that force vehicles into thick brush. Other times, cars have to maneuver over just dirt.
There is no electricity — power lines don’t extend out here. Water is scarce, too. At the village well, women balance jugs of water on their heads, deftly evading the livestock that saunters along. Visit the sites of Gudda with CNN’s Arwa Damon »
It’s a simple lifestyle of farming, tending to goats, caring for children and carrying out household chores — a daily routine that hasn’t changed much over the centuries.
That’s why light transformed Gudda. Villagers could play music at night. Children could study well past sundown. Watch villagers smile as they light their solar lamps »
As Yamouna Groomis kneads dough for her family’s evening meal, she blows through a pipe every once in a while to keep a flame burning in an outdoor clay pit. Her days used to end when the sun went down. She smiles as she proudly flicks on a solar lamp.
“When I saw this light coming on for the first time, I was very happy,” she says.
The light is powered by a solar panel on her roof that charges a battery. Panels can be seen on almost every rooftop in Gudda.
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