By Tafline Laylin
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a story pops up about donkeys in Turkey that carry solar panels so that shepherds, who are often out in the field alone for days at a time, have enough energy to power their laptops.
So much for nostalgia — instead of enjoying their time in nature, away from the insane hubbub of daily life on this hectic planet, shepherds want to be online just like everybody else.
And the government is helping them get there.
Ser-Gün, a local company that calls the solar-panels “plug-and-play donkey” charges some $1,320 for the privilege of having a source of green energy out in the field.
This is a lot of money for anyone, but especially so for a shepherd, so the government is contributing 50 percent of the funds to subsidize a plan to improve development in the countryside, where most people lack access to many of the amenities that urbanites have.
“The shepherds have a difficult time,” alternative energy analyst Ozgur Gurbuz told Fastco. “They live far away from the cities [and\ towns and the only way [for them\ to socialize is to watch TV or use [computers\. Solar power serves both purposes.”
Rather unwieldy on the back of a donkey, the panels nonetheless produce five to seven kilowatts of power each day, which is said to be sufficient to power most laptops.
Of course, if the sheep are grazing in remote areas, the idea to ensure the shepherds can access the internet while on their extended journey might very well fail. Unless those donkeys are kitted out with some kind of fancy router as well.
Who am I to say a shepherd should mind his sheep and not the latest sports update? I’m online most of the day almost every day of the week. Still, I can’t help but long for simpler days - the days when a shepherd wouldn’t have dreamed of contaminating his serenity this way.
Nevertheless, the panels do also produce energy for light, which is said to be especially useful when the sheep are giving birth. And that’s something I can definitely get behind.