We Care Solar : Solar Suitcase Installations in Senegal
In the Spring of 2014 LWHS Parent Brad Rock connected the Lick/Drew Senegal Trip with the Berkeley-based NGO, We Care Solar. On a Saturday afternoon students going on the trip traveled to Berkeley to learn about the solar suitcase's lighting and charging abilities, as well as how to install the units and properly train local health workers.
We installed our first We Care Solar suitcase at the Poste de Sante Dediender, about 10 minutes from the village of Santhiou Mame Gor, Senegal. This clinic is heavily used and sometimes has doctors delivering babies by candlelight! They were very excited to have the included super-bright LED lights and rechargeable headlamps for upcoming deliveries. Four students (Zack, Kyle, Long-Long, and August) helped with the installation. Katarina Cusin and I worked together on training the staff how to use the unit. Daouda Camara helped to translate the instructions to Wolof. We couldn't drill into the roof due to suspected asbestos so we built a wood framework for the solar panels and attached everything to cinder blocks (which were already on the roof).
I worked with Katarina Cusin and LWHS student Cameron Rosen to install a 2nd suitcase in the remote village of Nguniene, Senegal. Cameron and I performed the install, and Katarina delivered the training. During the training, the staff informed us that they deliver babies for a whopping 25 villages! As with the previous install, we were unable to drill into the roof so we had to get inventive. The hospital gave us an old steel bed frame and we used metal zip ties to attach the panels to the frame. Let's hope this device makes for many happy babies!
Hal Aronson and Laura Stachel have an amazingly well designed and engineered system that's being used all over the world. It's very exciting to make this connection and to be able to work with such a high quality device. Find out more about We Care Solar on their website.
Thank you to Brad Rock for making this connection and covering the cost of the suitcases.