By Andrew Hendricks
On the sandy, unfolding plains of Sanliurfa, Turkey, there are no coffee shops to plug in your all-important smartphone charger. In the day-to-day grind of these Turkish shepherds, there are no buildings of any kind, or road signs, for that matter. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to even find shade. However, there is one thing they have plenty of (other than miles of dusty sand), and that’s sunlight.
With no power source available but the sun, these shepherds take resourcefulness to a new level by using small solar panels attached to the backs of their donkeys to charge up their smartphones.
The images released last week of the whole process in action are pretty astounding. You almost get a bit of old-meets-new culture shock as you see a shepherd on his mobile while playing with a curly-horned sheep, the dusty Turkish plateau stretching on behind him for miles. If this were a movie, critics would be up in arms over anachronisms, but it’s real life. Other photos depict shepherds kicking back on large rocks, or right on the ground, chatting on their smartphones while a tea kettle comes to boil resting on flat stones over a rudimentary campfire.
For shepherds working in the wild, dealing with the elements all day, the durability of the slightly futuristic bendable smartphones might be a good investment, if they were affordable. Although, since they claim to mostly use their phones for music, emergencies, and staying in touch with family, a basic cheap phone purchased second-hand would probably do the job, as long as they follow our guide to taking excellent care of it to ensure it would last as long as possible in the harsh outdoor environment.