Would you spend $60,000 to install solar generating equipment on an Indian hogan? I, and all those who pay their bills to my local utility, have. A great success, no? Then imagine that, days after turning on the lights, the volunteers on the project discover that the dwelling is built of railroad ties, which are impregnated with creosote, a known carcinogen, and so the hut must be condemned. Would you consider that a well-run program worthy of being continued? Of course you would — to end the program would be mean-spirited. Besides, someone else is paying the bills.
This tragicomic waste centers on Paula Curtis, a single mother of three living on the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona. Look at what the journalist emphasizes in enumerating the stark privations the Curtis family suffers through without electricity:
The children liked to stay with their friends or grandparents, where they could watch movies and plug in their video games.
They had a small, battery-powered DVD player, but the batteries often died mid-movie.
The children spent a lot of time reading, and when it was dark, it meant bedtime. On weekends, they stayed up playing board games by the dim light of a kerosene lantern.