A trip to Peru with a purpose
The following was put together with help from my friend Darren. He and his girlfriend are doing all the work taking the lights to the communities, I am just spreading the word of their awesome mission!
My name is Darren Bruner and I am a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder. While preparing for my cliché “last summer before corporate America” Peru trip with my girlfriend, Kaitlin, I realized I wanted to make a difference during our adventure, I just didn’t quite know how. I guess life has a funny way of working out, because deep in a canyon in Utah over spring break, I met a woman by the name of Gisela Voss who shared her story with us on the trail of losing her son in a rock climbing accident, “One instant your child is shining as bright as a lighthouse on the ocean or a firefly in a meadow. The next moment OFF.” In memory of Luke Voss, Luke’s Lights is an organization run by Gisela that seeks to spread his light around the world by means of providing safe, bright, cheap, and environmentally stable electric lights to developing communities worldwide who otherwise rely on kerosene-fueled lamps.
All across the developing world, women, children, and families are exposed to the following risks:
- In India alone, 2.5 million people each year suffer severe burns from overturned kerosene lamps.
- When a fuel lamp is used, women and children breathe in amounts of smoke equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes per day.
- More women in rural Kenya die of fume-related illnesses than of malaria and tuberculosis.
- Half of the world’s population earns less than $2/day, yet many spend up to $200/year on fuel to light their homes.
I too have had guiding lights in my life that have led me to the point I am today. Who knows where I would be if one of my lights went out, or I never had a light to illuminate my path at all? I realized then that this was the mission I was searching for.
As a result, every $10 donation to our cause results in a solar light being given to:
- A student who will now be able to study after dark.
- A midwife who will be able to assist births day or night.
- A mother who will now be able to care for her children at night.
- A shopkeeper who won’t have to close his business when the sun sets.
- A child who will be able to play long into the night.
The developing communities of Lima, Peru, could benefit greatly from the light you and I can provide. We plan to personally hand out each light to individuals in need by means of a distribution team already established in the city. In fact (as we were told by the organization), our suitcase containing the lights will most likely be used as a crib for an infant when left behind. As Gisella said regarding her organization, “This quest feels like a prism to us. It gives light. Magical, healing, life-affirming light. To our family. And to those whose own families live in darkness.” Please consider donating and help us light up Lima.
A LETTER FROM LUKE’S MOM.
‘As many of you already know, I lost my son.
Not in a store like our little girl once long ago within furry clothes racks. Not left behind on the counter of Henry Bear’s Park in his car seat carrier during the daze of new motherhood. Lost forever to the hands of time. Passed away to the spirit world, to a hereafter we hope he’s happy in.
Refracted in the tears of all who love him is a rainbow of colored light so warm we can only believe Luke is one with the sky and the earth. He lived a life that mattered. To many. And in that knowledge we find peace.
Luke loved conversation.
He was able to talk to anyone, of any age, of any gender, race or nationality, of any profession or any educational level. He sought such conversations out.
“Talk to a stranger every day,” he would say—and try.
The more different, the better.
He had a glow that illuminated any room.
Because he was truly interested in you. All of you.
His ability to see the light inside everyone defined who he was and how he lived in the world.
His friend Nick remembered at his memorial service: “Luke saw me at my best and he saw me at my worst. But to Luke I was always at my best.”
THAT was Luke.
Edith Wharton said “there are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Few of us can imagine a person who did both. Shine from within and refract every one else’s best. Luke did. In fact, we believe he still does.
In every story told about him, in every time someone he knew remembers him, in every instance someone he loves says YES instead of no…there is Luke shining and warming and loving. Incandescent.’
Several photos from this source, thank you!
Darren and Kaitlin, thank you so much for being the hands and feet of this movement by taking these lights to the families of Lima, Peru. Luke will most definitely be looking down smiling on the sight of so many lights being handed out. Safe travels and please consider donating if you have the funds!