Please enjoy this guest blog from Rick Davis, Tech Assist Haiti:
One does not have to spend time in Haiti to appreciate the simple miracle that is artificial light. Each of us has memories of camping trips or major utility blackouts or hurricanes that we can reach back to and recall how absolutely dark is the night on this planet of ours.
An occasional foray into the night of the wilderness does not frighten us. It does not change our lifestyle. Our children are not impacted in their futures by lack of light. It’s just a camping trip. It is just a temporary utility problem. It’s just a hurricane. Soon we will be back in our warm cocoon of light; turning on a switch to chase away the night.
IEEE and Sirona Cares are chasing away the night for the rural people of Haiti one village at a time.
I was thrilled to be able to visit one of the six sites where an IEEE/Sirona entrepreneur-managed charging station is based. What I saw has convinced me that lighting a million homes in Haiti is possible using this model.
Michelle Lacourcere has posted the facts of her recent review of the sites. The facts are as stated. The people are not only extending their days into the night they are gaining a tremendous amount of self respect. In Haiti as in just about every place in the world there is a social divide between rural and urban populations; we certainly have that here in the United States. The simple act of turning on a light switch is no longer the great chasm that rural peoples must span to consider themselves modern. In six villages in Haiti that is.
The base stations are underutilized in a major way. This is a wonderful problem that can be solved in numerous ways. The excellent design and engineering of the base charging station permits one to imagine all sorts of additional utilizations, and revenue sources to the entrepreneur, that spring from the fact the four or five battery units are charged each day. It is my belief that the additional uses of the energy being produced will be provided by the people of each village. Do they need power for a tele-learning center? Electricity for a medical clinic to serve ten or twenty villages in the vicinity? An ice machine to keep water cold for those long humid days? Human ingenuity being what it is I cannot begin to think of all of the ways this gift of affordable, renewable, non-polluting energy will prove to be for the rural population of Haiti.
I have been privileged to view the IEEE/Sirona rural electrification project from inception through to successful pilot. Indeed it is a privilege to see this project so well designed, built, implemented and managed. So much of what I do in Haiti every day encompasses wonderful ideas that remain, forever, ideas. Kudos to all for a job well done.
Tech Assist for Haiti