Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Solar power charging station Rwanda

One day after returning to Hong Kong, I joined my colleagues taking another team to come to Rwanda carry out another solar electrical power project.  This valley in Gicaca cell, Gikomero sector looks picturesquely idyllic. One is tempted to imagine living here.  

Firstly, however, the houses are built with mud.  

Secondly, the living conditions here are rather basic.  

Finally, it is hard to imagine living without running water nor electricity. 

Can you imagine walking up a steep and slippery hill carrying a jerry can with 10 kilograms of water on your head.   These kids, less than 10 years old, know exactly how it feels.  I tried once, walking 1.5 kilograms on a relatively flat road with 10 kilograms of water on my head.  I had to stop and relieve my head many times before I could complete the tread.  We couldn’t do much with the eater problem.  But we have been working on the electricity problem.. 

I started this year’s project by visiting a charging station set up in 2016.  Two years ago, we out 12 20-watt solar panels on this house.  The combined 240 watts generated can be used to charge 5 batteries at the same time.  Two years later, the system is till working well. I was told the local youths have been coming to maintain the system.  It is very gratifying to hear that we have been able to pass along the skills to the local community.  These youths live in the community.  Many have completed secondary school but could not find jobs in the city.  Hence they return to the village to farm.  Now they are keeping these solar charging stations running.  

This year we are going to set up 5 more charging stations, and wire up 136 households with batteries, LED lighting, mobile phone chargers, and small radios running on rechargeable batteries.  We hope also to provide more complete training to these youths so that they can continue to wire up more houses, and hopefully, setup more charging stations.  What we need to do then is to raise more funding to buy the equipment and consumables for them. 

These are the gratifying fruits of many years to hard work, of many people from Hong Kong and Rwanda working together.  This is what keeps me from retiring.  I thank God for letting me work on this. 

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