Fisherman is safer with solar-powered lantern

Byron Bobila – Fisherman – Samar Island, Philippines

When Byron Bobila saw flames in the water, he immediately paddled toward the fire. Fishermen in eastern Samar use kerosene lamps on their boats at night. When these lamps fall over, the boats go up in flames.

Byron was relieved to find the fisherman safe nearby, swimming in the ocean. Being 1 km from shore, the fisherman may have drowned if Byron were not so alert. With the fisherman safely on his boat, Byron paddled to shore and gave the man shelter in his home. In the morning, the fisherman found transportation up north, back to his family.

In the Philippines, fisherman use kerosene lanterns to attract fish to their boats, much the way light bulbs attract moths. Although this fishing method brings the most fish and the most income, accidents are not uncommon. Fisherman leave shore at 4p, and stay overnight until 7am.

Byron had feared a similar accident on his own boat, when fishing overnight. His new light, however, promises safety, and also provides a chance to improve his business. Smiling broadly, he pondered how many fish he could attract using this new, much brighter tool. Given kerosene savings and increased earnings, he hopes to afford new school supplies for his two children.