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 we are accepted, our volunteers do not have to suffer the long drive north–14-16 hours of heat and non-roads.
The day after arrival we shopped and got the local materials necessary to start the program. We are still waiting for a shipment to arrive in Niamey of silicone and solar accessories. Fifteen students showed up to start to work. This time we told them they are not getting paid for their transportation here, nor a per diem. They get a $10 advance and are paid for every panel created. They split up the most experienced students, chose group leaders and formed three groups. The first day started with a lecture about how to make solar ovens. These will serve two purposes for us. They will allow us to bake to panels to encapsulate the photovoltaic cells with a material like a shower curtain–much easier bring into the country–and much cheaper to make. They will also be made in smaller size for home use–to help women make food without having to gather firewood or buy gas.