A Day in the Life

by Julie Walsh on March 10, 2008

I went into the kitchen this morning and used dung instead of the firewood and crop residue that I used yesterday to cook my family’s breakfast. There was no fruit to give them, though, because more than a quarter of produce gets wasted before it gets to my market, due to lack of refrigeration and storage.
I then tended to my terminally-ill toddler as best I could despite my near blindness; my child has an acute respiratory infection. Later in the morning my neighbor visited me, complaining of how a village child recently died of a snake bite—our clinic doesn’t have the refrigeration for the anti-venom serum.
The electricity to our village was restored today after three days without it, so my husband’s crops hopefully won’t die, now that he has electricity for the water pumps. Our village is very fortunate to even have electricity, though.
In the evening my husband came home from the fields saying he said he heard that many in the United States want us Indians to use less energy.
Data from Barun Mitra, LibertyIndia.org; Jyothi Parekh, et al, 2003.
88% of kitchens in Indian villages use dung, firewood or crop residue for fuel.
11% of women that use these traditional fuels have eye diseases.
2.6% children under 5 in rural India die from acute respiratory infections.
50,000 people die yearly from snake bites because of lack of medical facilities, including lack of refrigeration to store the anti-venom serums.
Only 13% of Indian villages have electricity.

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