For those who do not know why I brought the panel, let me give a
When we were leaving
last year, I couldn’t help but Sierra Leone
ponder what I had just seen for the past two weeks. Here is a
country, like most in
Africa, where just about everyone is
carrying a cell phone but very few people have electricity. So I
asked several people in
and on the way home, Freetown
WHERE DO PEOPLE CHARGE THEIR CELL PHONES?
The answers were varied but the bottom line is, if your village
does not have a generator, you may have to walk for 5 miles to
another village and then pay an equivalent of $.25 to have it
charged. It may be as much as $.50 depending on the cost of fuel.
(remember the average rural income is $1.00 per day)
Solar powered cell phone charging stations are not rocket science
to build, nor do I claim a patent on the idea. I quickly found out
that there are many on the market and even total village stations
installed as humanitarian projects funded by grants etc.
I didn’t know this at the outset, so my goal was to build something
inexpensive that would provide opportunities for ministry for
pastors, churches, or an income for widows etc.
While people are waiting for their cell phones to be charged, let
them watch the Jesus Film on a small solar powered device or listen
to bible stories etc.
The ministry portion needs to be developed yet, but this trip to
inexpensive style of solar panel that we will be sending to
in a container leaving I-TEC in May of 2012.
It is a 9ft long flexible Uni-Solar panel that I rolled up small enough
to put in my suitcase. The panel needs something smooth, clean
and flat that is at least 16” wide to adhere to. Expecting either a
grass roof or thin corrugated roofing material, I took along an
11ft. x 24in. piece of roll steel roofing material, (scene in the picture
with my suitcase,) 25 ft of #10/2 wire, a solar charge controller so
not to overcharge the battery, an LED light and all the associated
connectors and tools for the installation.
Because I knew many of you were praying and thanks to the patient
training and information passed on to me from Joe Marino
www.dcpower.com, ) and Michael Fisher, our local I-TEC solar
consultant and project installer, www.fishersolar.com I was
confident that my first installation would be successful.
Well, the pictures tell the story and praise God for the first
installation that will allow for the THARS training and counseling
center to charge 6 cell phones at one time or cut hair or ??? what
ever they might plug into a cigarette lighter adapter powered by the
Several of these solar kits have been sponsored by Sunday School
Classes at Open Door Church in
The price of a basic kit right now is $275.00. If you would have a
desire to sponsor one of these kits, you could actually change the life
of a widow or person within a congregation. There are so MANY
applications for the use of small solar kits in
Africa but even at
$275.00 - $300.00, it is beyond their reach of ever obtaining.
To find out more, email us at email@example.com
My first solar installation ran considerably over budget on the man
hours necessary, so evening was fast approaching. We still had a
2 – 2 ½ hr drive through the mountains and down to
before night fall.
1hr and 45min later, we were downtown. Yes, we made it before
dark but Linda and I both agreed that our taxi cab driver has missed
his calling in life. We just thank the lord that he missed the
thousands of people walking along the road or on bicycles and
motorcycles. This is always one of those things that you have to
experience to really know. (Side note- There is not one traffic signal
anywhere in the country of
. Imagine 10million people in a Burundi
country the size of
, and no traffic lights.) Maryland
Tuesday 04/17/12 we met up with John Riches who is a missionary
Burundi from the . He has been here for 16 years and is “one UK
of us” serving as a technical missionary.
He was a wealth of information and took us around the city meeting
key suppliers and equipment distributors.
Solar equipment, generators, batteries, wire and roofing material
were all on the list and then we ended up at his house by 8pm
having a meal with his wife Burundian wife Nadine
and their 4 precious kids. My camera battery died and no charger or
I would have some great pictures of the family. Next time for sure!!
John shared his experiences and the tragedies of the war and
genocide that has torn apart the countries of
Rwanda, Uganda and
President and his weekly praise and preaching services that are
common throughout the country.
There really is healing that is taking place in the heart of
It has been our joy and privilege to serve these past two very short
weeks here in
. We look forward to returning with teams of Burundi
volunteers that will help make a huge difference in the effectiveness
of these ministries.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PART IN THE SUCCESS OF THIS TRIP.
WITHOUT PRAYER, NOTHING OF VALUE EVER HAPPENS.
Tom & Linda Garber
Powering Missions Worldwide