As the country attempted to negotiate a ceasefire, opponents damaged the national power system, halving its normal electricity supply.
At the age of eight, Carla returned home from school often to find the power had gone out. She remembers candlelight at night and the steady hum of back-up generators.
"From a very young age, I knew the importance of electricity. And its unpredictability only made me appreciate it more.”
Land of Plenty
At nine, Carla and her family arrived in British Columbia as refugees. Here alone, without the support an extended family can provide, they grew even more conscious of resource usage and waste.
“The idea of being tied to the land, and how you can abuse it or use it sustainably, has always been a part of my consciousness,” she says.
The first time she attended her new school in Burnaby, she marveled at the size of the huge building. She stood in the entryway and looked down the long hall of lockers at what felt like “an endless row of fluorescent lights.”
“It was incredible,” she says. “There was no sense of scarcity, only plenty.”
Still, her family continued to be frugal and practice conservation. In the summers, she and her visiting grandmother picked blackberries with ice cream buckets. The ones they didn’t eat fresh off the vine they’d take home to make jam or juice.