While researching the story of William Kamkwamba and his windmill, I learned from Tom Rielly of TED that many homes in Malawi use paraffin as their main source of light and heat. We use candles here for more luxurious purposes such as decor, setting a mood, meditation and aromatherapy.
Paraffin as a main source of light/heat can get dangerous as well and there are many people who get burned from over turned paraffin candles and stoves. For more information on how to prevent paraffin accidents see Paraffin Safety Association of South Africa. Many homes don’t have electricity in Malawi and William’s family had to travel ten kilometers to purchase their paraffin so they could have light.
Once he got his ingenious windmill going it saved them both money and time because it created enough electricity to light several light bulbs in his home. William continues to upgrade his windmill and is presently working on building a more powerful windmill to pump water to irrigate his family’s garden.