In Arizona, volunteer utility workers prepare a power pole to connect the Haskie home on the Navajo Nation to the electric grid. (AP)

In Arizona, volunteer utility workers prepare a power pole to connect the Haskie home on the Navajo Nation to the electric grid. (AP)

By lamplight, Miranda Haskie talks about living for more than 10 years without being connected to power lines on the Navajo reservation. (AP)

By lamplight, Miranda Haskie talks about living for more than 10 years without being connected to power lines on the Navajo reservation. (AP)

Jayden Long, 13, brushes his teeth by cell phone light in the bathroom of his home on the Navajo reservation. (AP)

Jayden Long, 13, brushes his teeth by cell phone light in the bathroom of his home on the Navajo reservation. (AP)

Before his home was connected to power lines, Jayden had to start up a generator, which was used sparingly because of the cost of fuel. (AP)

Before his home was connected to power lines, Jayden had to start up a generator, which was used sparingly because of the cost of fuel. (AP)

It is a simple porch light—something most of us take for granted. But it was a big moment the first night Jimmie Long Jr. was able to switch it on! (AP)

It is a simple porch light—something most of us take for granted. But it was a big moment the first night Jimmie Long Jr. was able to switch it on! (AP)

Power for the Navajo

Posted: July 1, 2019

Miranda Haskie sits at her kitchen table. Candles glow around her—but not for long. This is her very last night without electricity!

Ms. Haskie lives in the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation is the largest American Indian reservation in the United States. Navajo homes spread across parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Sixty thousand people there still need power!

Can you imagine life without electricity? How would you do your homework? Some kids in the Navajo Nation use car lights. Others use kerosene lamps. No electricity usually also means no running water. Ms. Haskie’s family showers, cooks, and charges cell phones at her mother’s house two miles away. Navajos without electricity also pack food or medicine in coolers with ice. In wintertime, they leave it outside.

It costs up to $40,000 to bring electricity to a single house on the spread-out Navajo reservation. That’s very expensive. The average employed person on the reservation makes only around $10,700 each year. Half the workforce have no jobs at all. People raise money to pay for the huge project. Volunteers from other parts of the United States help install the power. They meet families who have waited months, years, and even a lifetime to get power. Navajos say thank you to the crews. They give them feasts of fry bread, steaks, and steamed corn.

Ms. Haskie knows how to live without electricity. She’s used to it. But now she doesn’t have to. She made an electricity-friendly wish list: a blender, a coffee maker, a juice maker, a stand-up mixer, and an espresso machine. Her son Jayden has a wish too. He wants to take eggs, bacon, steak, pork chops, and hamburgers out of a refrigerator to cook whenever he wants.

Navajos Vernon and Bertha Smith get electricity too. They have waited three years. But Mr. Smith calls that “a miracle.”

“I couldn't believe it,” he says. His face lights up as he recalls seeing the whirling blades of a ceiling fan in his home for the first time. “I didn't think I was going to get electricity that fast.”

Give thanks in all circumstances. ― 1 Thessalonians 5:18