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Buckets of SunBy David Lipschitz and Dorian Haarhoff, © May 2012Once there was an island just off the coast of South Afric...
“Ah yes. well done. That’s the generous old sun for you.” Sungoma clapped his hands.“What is this all about?” muttered Mr ...
One of the residents, Mrs Ena Sight, suddenly saw the light. “The only catch is if you keeppaying coal man Bill more and m...
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Buckets Of Sun - A short story about being Energy Efficient

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Buckets Of Sun - A short story about being Energy Efficient. A short story by Dorian Haarhoff and David Lipschitz. Feel free to copy and use, but please leave our copyright symbol in the text.

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Transcript of "Buckets Of Sun - A short story about being Energy Efficient"

  1. 1. Buckets of SunBy David Lipschitz and Dorian Haarhoff, © May 2012Once there was an island just off the coast of South Africa not far from Robben Island. It wasroughly the same size. The place had no name. There were 50 houses on it. The houses had nonames either.Power came from the mainland. Islanders referred to this as The Mains. Once a month a mancalled Bill came from the Mains dressed in a coal black suit. He knocked on every door tocollect the monthly electricity and water money.People grumbled. Mr Expense from no 6 peered at Bill through his glasses with fossil frames(everyone on the island wore them) “this month we’ve even stopped bathing. We only takeshowers. But the bill goes up.”Bill shrugged his shoulders “You ain’t seen nothing yet” he muttered as he dropped three of MrExpense’s R500 notes – yes, the Reserve Bank now issued R500 notes - into his collection box.The residents grumbled but did nothing.Then one morning life changed for the islanders. It happened to be a holiday - Freedom Day 27April. The sun was shining brightly as it did most days in this part of the world.It was Suna from no 13 - the 13 year old, who came running with the news. She panted “There isa man with fiery red hair standing on the beach. He’s wearing green goggles. He has a sunflowerin his hat. He is surrounded by buckets. Lots of buckets. You have to come and see.” She ranfrom door to door. Her dog, Sunbeam, ran with her. She called him Sunbeam for his coat wasgolden.Somebody from each house made their way onto the beach. Sure enough there was a man ingreen goggles standing surrounded by 50 buckets. Each bucket had the number of one of thehouses on it. “Come and get your bucket of Sun” he called.Sunbeam ran up to the man and wagged its tail.“Who are you?” a few of the women asked.“You can call me a Sungoma” the man smiled “and I come from up there.” He pointed towardsthe sun.Suna cried out “I wrote a poem about the sun’s smile.” She recited it by heart.“The Sun god beams and smilesthen shakes his fiery hair.Here’s energy for Africaas I’ve got light to spare.”
  2. 2. “Ah yes. well done. That’s the generous old sun for you.” Sungoma clapped his hands.“What is this all about?” muttered Mr Slowchange from number 27 suspiciously.“It’s simple,” said the Sungoma. “You take the bucket of sun and you pour it onto your roofinto a special contraption. And now you have sun power for as long as your house stands.”“How much does it cost?” grumbled Mrs TightBudget from no 33.“Costs the same as you pay to Bill from the Mains every month.”“So why change?”“Ah the difference is the this cost doesn’t go up and up every month like a helicopter. It staysthe same.” Sungoma held up five green fingers and ticked them off one by one. “One weproduce electricity. Two we save electricity. Three we save water. Four we save money. Five wesave the planet.”“So,” said Grandpa Thinka, “We are simply being more efficient? We work with nature ratherthan against nature?”Sungoma did a dance. “You’ve got it you’ve got it”, he sang.Addem, the accountant, spoke up. “I’ve worked it out. Energy Efficiency is the first step. Wecall that efficiency Negawatts. Once weve done this, we make electricity for the balance of ourelectricity needs.”“Sungoma slapped him on the shoulder “Yes, yes.”Grandpa Thinka then asked, “So how do we save? We have to install some saving things right?”“If all 50 get a sun bucket, I can buy what we need at a rock bottom prices … and wait for it….the price is thrown in to the monthly cost. And you could all get a tank.”“What kind of tank?” asked Colonel Fighta, thinking of his army days.“He means a water tank, Uncle”, explained Suna.At that point Sungoma handed everybody a pair of green goggles. “Here, take off your oldspecs. Put these on.” The islanders put them on and suddenly the world looked different. It wasfull of possibility. “When you wear these”, explained Sungoma, “all the plugs and appliances inyour home that chew electricity and gulp water will show up as luminous green.”“What’s the catch?”, shouted Sir Spicious.
  3. 3. One of the residents, Mrs Ena Sight, suddenly saw the light. “The only catch is if you keeppaying coal man Bill more and more every month. Water goes up and up like a fountain exceptit never comes down. Give me a bucket.”The couple at no 3 squeezed each other’s hands. They had not done that for years. “We’resigning up too.” They had a mielie farm.Old Mrs Smiley, Suna’s grandmother began to sing happily “You are my sunshine my onlysunshine.”Sir Spicious asked “Can we trust this man?”Just then Suna’s dog, Sunbeam, went up to the Sungoma and licked his hand. Sunbeam thenrolled over and exposed his belly to the sun’s rays.“I trust Mr Sungoma”, announced Suna.” Her granny nodded “Children and dogs know things.”Another resident wanted to know, “How will we organise this? I worked for the Mooncipalityand that was chaos.”“We already have a Neighbour Watch. So we organize a small group that looks after our suninterests” smiled Con Nection from no 41.“We can call it the Neighbour Watts” yelled Suna. Sunbeam wagged his tail.So the people took a bucket of sun each. Two neighbors started chatting to each other as theywalked away “I have family from the Mains to stay this month. My son and daughter-in-law andtheir four children. I’m worried I won’t have enough sun power.”One bright neighbor looked at her through her green goggles “Never mind. I’ll have too muchsun this month so you can come with your bucket and borrow some.”People began to find names for their houses. Sundance, Sundeck, Sunergy, Sunchronicity.When the end of the next month came the people on the Mains grumbled while the greengoggled islanders smiled and turned their faces to the sun. After a few months they didn’t needgoggles at all so they took them off. Their eyes had adjusted to the green light and insight.Tourists came from the Mains to see why the islanders looked so happy and had money forholidays. Suna was their tour guide “Now instead of sums we do suns” Suna explained, “andyou can create your own sun island just like ours. Just ask Sungoma to bring his buckets. ”The community met and elected their Neighbour Watts. They named their island Madebasunand they saved happily ever after.

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