On September 8, 2017 we will switch on electricity in Kotto 1 – the third village in the project.
Work is going full speed ahead with more than twenty people working in the village wiring homes, constructing the solar park and building the grid for electricity, cable TV and Internet.
The excitement and expectation is to be felt as soon as you arrive at the village; the dawn of a new day!
Enclosed are four pictures from Dr. Skjorshammers visit last week, showing young electrician going to wire a home, a home just being wired, pulling a 2.000 meter cable for the grid from the solar power station to the road by hand and pulling 4.000 meter cable constructing the grid using a car. Hard manual work! But then, we are deep into the rainforest. Not very sophisticated, but it works. The rainy season does not make it any easier. Soon September 8 is here and more than 100 years of darkness turns to light! More than 3.000 people will experience pure joy. Waiting is over!
“We want what you have in Europe” stressed a council member in one of the ”SunErgy villages” at the visit to the village last week. ”We are eagerly waiting for you to bring us more electrical household equipment. Now we have television and radio. Are able to charge our mobile phones. Please bring us the rest. We want what you have in Europe!”
The take from this is that as soon as people get access to electricity they also get a craving for all the amenities going along with electricity and which you and I take for granted, such as hot water boilers, hair dryers, cooking plates, refrigerators, etc. Everything, which improves life and make it easier; like us they want the good life! There is no difference.
Believe it or not, by the end of this year, we will have brought and installed an estimated 8.000 light bulbs, more than 1.000 television sets and radios, hundreds of hot water boilers, hair dryers, shaving machines. More than hundred refrigerators, freezers and washing machines in addition to streetlights, computer rooms in schools, etc. The numbers are awesome with more (much more) to come as the project moves forward.
The council member did not ask for freebees. He did not beg. On the contrary, people pay for what they use or get, whether electricity, cable TV, Internet or any electrical household appliances. They buy!
People are willing to pay as we make it available. And we will!
On the last visit to Cameroon (May 13-22, 2017) SunErgy entered into an agreement to the tune of an estimated 23 million USD with the Bororo Fulani (tribe). The plan is that SunErgy shall provide 100 Bororo villages or 33 000 families with solar electricity, Cable TV and Internet.
The project is fully financed by the Republic of Cameroon and the Islamic Development Bank. Banja will serve as the pilot and when successfully up and running we will move to the other villages.
The Bororo people, who used to be nomadic herdsmen, occupy many parts of Central and West Africa. Today they mostly live in smaller villages such as Banja, still active in agriculture and cattle rearing.
The Solar power station for Judith Craig`s Village for the seventy-four homeless children in Monrovia, Liberia is packed and ready for shipment (07.05.2017).
By the end of July the children will flip a switch for light enabling them to do the things you and I take for granted; school work after dark, watching television, experiencing the security of street lights, etc.; this and much more for less than 4 cents per day per child for the next thirty years. Almost for free. A true energy miracle! All sponsored and paid for by the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church in Norway.
And the best! We can repeat the same in an endless number of similar projects all around the world; giving young and old a new life and a better future.
Finally, something to contemplate; one hotdog bought in Norway at a gasoline station will bring electricity for one day to almost 150 children in a similar situation as the seventy-four children at Judith Crag´s Village.
Yesterday, 22.04.2017, we returned from Cameroon from one of the monthly visits.
The main agenda this time was to visit the villages of Bokosso and Kotho 1.
In Bokosso the task was to check that things are in order and running as planned.
In Kotho 1, the next village to have electricity the job was to check status. The work is going full speed ahead with the air vibrating of expectation of things to come. People are volunteering en masse. No shortage of people wanting to help. Young and old, men and women, boys and girls; you name it, they are there!
Yesterday, 18.03.2017, four o`clock in the morning, SunErgy Cameroon declared and received a 40 feet container with 700 panels from Singapore in the port of Douala. The panels are for the two next villages. A big congratulation to Mr. Mike and our Cameroon team!
We all know only too well that to import goods to Africa and Cameroon is no easy task; certainly not for amateurs or the fainthearted to try. Again Mr. Mike and the team, having the necessary knowledge, skills and experience, were successful within the shortest period of time. It took a couple of weeks compared to almost six months for the first container a couple of years ago. Things are improving and moving forward!
Bokosso was the first village that “saw the light” about 1 1/2 year ago.
Upon the last visit to Bokosso (a week ago) we learned about the creation of more than thirty new jobs since the day the electricity was switched on. One is a bakery, which employs ten persons and delivers bread to Bokosso and twelve surrounding villages!
Another interesting eye-opener was all the building of new houses. In Bokosso alone more than five new houses have been built with additional being constructed. People are buying land to build on. As the Chief John Benga of Bokosso said in a television interview when switching on electricity: “Bokossso will never be the same. Houses will be built, jobs created. People will buy land and move to Bokosso.”
Chief Benga was right. Things are changing fast for the better for people in Bokosso, but not only for them. Soon development will reach the other villages in the region. People are already buying land and building new houses knowing that electricity, cable TV and Internet soon will come their way.
Prosperity and a brighter future is more than a dream. It`s a dream come true. Reality!
Going to the villages takes its toll on the cars. The roads are more than just bumpy; sometimes more like riverbeds. Constant repair and maintenance is the rule rather than the exception.
Last week we had to change the engines in two of the cars. The Russian truck Gaz, which has served us well for a couple of years, got its engine replaced by a Toyota Hi-Ace engine. The Land Rover also got a new engine installed. On the Gaz we also rebuilt the bed and reinforced the frame. That car takes a lot of beatings going back and forth with heavy material.
Much welding and fitting took place before the new engines were installed and the cars ready to go; all done by our own people in our simple workshop. Creative and clever. Miracle workers!