Monday, August 23, 2010


Today, Sunday August 22, we walked the 2.5km to the Ndandini Primary School - carrying the solar panels, charge controller, inverter, 40m of wiring and plug, switch and light fitting for 3 lights.  We decided that we would leave the large 12v solar battery and have it brought by motorbike (I could barely lift it much less carry it 10 feet).

Doing installations in remote areas like this is quite a challenge.  No matter how hard you try to plan ahead, there are always things that come up and you don't have quite what you need - so you improvise.

With some help from local villagers we got the solar panels assembled and a roof mount built and the panels securely attached to the roof ridge.  That took a long time.  

Then we managed to complete the wiring from the panels to the charge controller and on to the battery and 240v inverter.  (I forgot to mention the bit about having to chisel a hole in the brick wall to get the wiring through into the small oom shared by the headmaster and all 7 teachers.) 

We were glad to have this done just in time for our 5pm meeting with Kimali, the principal of the Kyaithani Secondary School who is also the chairman of the Ndandini Water Project Management Committee.

By the time we had done the solar work, we had quite a crowd of local villagers sitting and standing around watching.  Most adults who arrived made a point of coming over to shake hands and welcome Terry "the electrician".  Everyone is SO excited about having a solar system at the school.

We spent a long time talking with Eric, the Deputy Head Master of the Ndandini Primary School.  Eric  is also the school's designated teacher to be responsible for the school greenhouse and garden.  It is great to see more and more educated and qualified people getting involved with our project work.  It is very encouraging for the sustainable future of the village and its much needed community development.

Also by 5pm we were really happy to see quite a large group of people assembled on the school playground and playing a very active and vocal game of volleyball.  In talking with Eric, he mentioned that everyday from 3 to 4 there is outdoor sports class.  The only problem is that they have almost no sports equipment.  So in order to teach soccer, they make paper soccer balls.  Its not only things like toilets and computers that the schools here need, its almost everything including basics like pens and paper to soccer balls and volleyball equipment.

Then we met with Kimali for the first time - although we feel like old friends after our recent emails and "conversations" about the responsibilities of the Water Project Management Committee.  We covered lots of specific and detailed topics relating to the well and the school, but also took time to talk about philosophies regarding various issues.  Kimali is very supportive of what we have done to date and will play a key role in getting the local community organized and committed to things like the community garden, the operation of the well, and the support of the drip-irrigation greenhouse and garden at the Ndandini Primary School.

Wednesday he has called another village baraza (meeting) to talk about the well and the upcoming September 5th visit by the donors.

So the next three days will fly by.

Stay tuned for more exciting things which are going to happen.   


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