Today was the final day of the program. It actually worked out OK that the materials to make the large panels never arrived–they are still in customs limbo–but we got our NIF–so maybe someday they will be liberated. Because the students weren’t focused solely on making panels they learned a lot of other things. Like […]
Our biggest challenge to date, besides customs of course, has not been teaching the concepts of solar energy, but instilling the idea of straight, square or precise. I decided to try to clean up one of the panels and make it prettier so they could see the difference. So they set to sanding, filling gaps […]
I spent the day in various offices trying to get our shipments of solar equioment which had finally arrived in Agadez. After some seven offices (this after paying $500 to a customs clearing agent in Niamey to do it) we got the packages released on condition that we complete our NIF which we have been […]
The first rice cooked in the solar oven was sampled by all. Pretty good.
The solar ovens were put to work today. The small one cooked a pot of rice and the big one a solar panel. The students could not believe how hot they got without even any solar cells used–just glass, wood, insulation and metal. Cooking a 65 watt panel
A generous donation of 100 solar lights from Unite to Light in Santa Barbara, CA. will lead to some new businesses for the nomads. We distributed them to each of our students for which they signed an agreement to pay. They will do a publicity campaign with these examples and take orders for more. The […]
The crew happily displays their new potential businesses. The panels which they are paid $5 each to make they can buy for $10 and resell for $15 or they can use them to earn money by charging cell phones for friends.
We managed to get transit papers to get our solar materials out of the airport. They are in the hands of our clearing agent with a transit paper which allows us to clear customs in Agadez. We thought we were home free, until the bus refused to take the merchandise as its $4000 value is […]
The solar ovens are nearing completion and we will find out today about our customs deal — we are hoping for transit papers so we can clear customs in Agadez. The new challenge–as we wait for Dr. Skankey and the medical volunteers to arrive–is an Air France strike. oh well…..
After 10 days straight of very hard work, we decided we all needed a break. We took the opportunity to go out to the garden for another picnic and at the same time figure out why the solar pump stopped working. Usually solar systems as simple as the one installed in the garden are very […]
We are still waiting for our shipment to clear customs. It is going through a whole new set of traumas, after we had an agreement, they changed their mind and told us the amount would be about 70% of the value of the merchandize PLUS shipping costs which would mean we would be paying almost […]
One begins to understand why businesses do not invest in many developing countries. Corruption is a killer, but even if corruption weren’t involved, government policies really restrict any kind of economic development especially if it involves materials shipped in. We had sent our solar materials before I left in September. After a two week delay […]
Today I met with Gami, the president of the Wodaabe women’s co-op at Fidouk. The women had asked over a year ago, for the loan to build a house for the women to gather and work on their sewing projects. This group is very well organized and masterful at embroidery. Gami is the president and […]
The last couple of days have been full of challenges as usual. The first was we got word that our nurse at the clinic had an accident on the new motorcycle and had to be evacuated to Agadez unable to walk. Then Dr. Komp woke up sick and could not go to the teaching program. […]
One of the most fun jobs I have done since I arrived is preparing to decorate the Tamesna Education center. I had tables made: one for each of four bedrooms, one large dining table a coffee table and two bathroom tables. I sit on my terrace every night after dinner and paint a table.
Today the group had to learn some carpentry in order to make the solar ovens. Finding decent wood was a challenge, but we have two ovens half way done. One will be used for baking our large solar panels with a new method and the other will be half the size and will be used […]
We have a small space in central Agadez, right across the street from the grand 16th century mosque. We have set up the front room as an office, the middle room for the sorting, soldering, The inside room is for sorting, cutting cells and soldering. the next small room for storing equipment and stock, the […]
The first afternoon they sorted cells. The boxes of cells arrive with some broken so we make use of every bit we can. We explained the need to be careful of wasting cells–not to break them or to find the best use of the broken ones. The smallest can be used in Cell phone chargers, […]
Dr. Rich Komp our solar energy expert and Sol de la Torre Bueno a stalwart foundation volunteer arrived by plane from Niamey on the Friday flight. I say this with some pride because it was almost a week of work to get accepted to use the humanitarian flight service of the United Nations. Now that […]
For the last three medical missions we have worked with Aghaichita Harouna as a nurse at the medical clinic. She is recently graduated and has not found work in her chosen field so we have offered her a position to run our office and to set up a reporting system for the medical clinic. We […]
Up til now you probably think I have been having a pretty cool vacation. Well I admit it has been more fun than recent trips, but I thought I would fill you in on some of the frustrations of trying to get anything done here. We now have five pr0perties to maintain: The medical clinic, […]
I often sit on my terrace and work at my computer. This gives my dog Iji (which means dog in Tamachek) the opportunity to bother me. He loves to be petted and as I am the only one to do this he fully understands that if he puts his head between my hand and the […]
Today I invited Sidi’s family to the garden. We had a picnic in beautiful weather and checked out the new onion planting. Sister and brother Fatimatou and Alhassane are nicknamed Farika and Fagaga. Farika is my closest girlfriend in Agadez . Preparing ground and planting onions
After an suffering the insults of playing puppies, the blazing Sahara heat and wind through 1,000 kilometers of desert, the 52 fruit trees arrived–only a little the worse for wear–at the garden in Indoudou. We made the plan, dug the holes and will fill them with soil and organic matter to rest for a couple […]
Ali, the nurse who runs our clinic at Tamesna now has a new vehicle which he will use to visit remote camps, check on the midwives in training, see patients, bring supplies and go to Agadez to replenish medecine. He is obviously very happy–so are we–and the nomads will be soon when they know they […]
The Wodaabe are nomads–so when they go to a party they don’t leave their house behind–they bring it with them along with all their herds, wives, kids and whatever. Until I met the Wodaabe I had never seen anyone wear a squirt gun or a flashlight as a piece of jewelry–how about […]
After days of dithering in Niamey with appointments and false starts we headed to Agadez with the information that a military escort was no longer necessary. This from the authorities in Niamey and the governor of Agadez. Apparently the governor of Taouha (about 2/3 of the way) had not gotten this news and at the […]
It is not really possible here to go to a nursery and get whatever you want. I have been trying to get grafted fruit trees for some time and finally realized I had to order in advance. So last March I went to ICRISAT, an organization working on sustainable ecological farming in Niamey, and ordered […]
It is always busy in Niamey rushing around trying to get out of town, seeing people I want and need to see and buying stuff you cannot get in the north. I always stay with my good friend Susan Rosenfeld, director of the Boston University study abroad program in Niamey. She has been a good […]
I I always try to get to the Grand Hotel while in Niamey to see the sunset from the terrace.
We are headed back to Niger to do a third solar training session, and train midwives among the Tuareg and Wodaabe nomads of Niger. The existing 18 solar students will start manufacture of panels to create demonstration sites from which they can sell solar equipment. Five initial midwife and health care liaison trainees have been […]