Wednesday, August 19, 2015
“Sonship is our destiny and our inheritance is wrapped up in discovery” ― Blake Higginbotham
John, Shaban and two of our workers have installed one of the solar project kits at the home of Edina, one of our workers who has been with us over ten years. Like many here, she rents two rooms from a house with three other families in it. So, she can’t weld or bolt the solar panel onto the roof since it isn’t hers. You can see from the picture at the right that the solar light is in place (clicking on the picture will take you to three other pictures of her house and the installation). The whole solar project kit sells for $200. The buyer only has to put down $15 and then pays $6 a month until it’s paid off. The bulbs and equipment should last for fifteen to twenty years, so a very good deal indeed. The kit contains the solar panel, four lights, a radio/MP3 player, and the battery which comes with outlets for charging four cell phones. If the owner has others pay for charging their cell phones, they can reduce the payments quite a bit. For our workers, we pay the $15 down, but they have to make the monthly payments. One of the coolest things about this is that no money changes hands—it’s all done by Mpesa (m for mobile, pesa means money) through their cell phones. If the payments aren’t made, the unit can be turned off remotely (John has been doing all the programming for this). It also has a GPS unit installed so all the units are in known locations, and if they are stolen, the GPS will tell on them and the units will be shut down. The police will also know where to go to retrieve them and arrest the thieves. Now, since Edina doesn’t own the roof where the solar panel resides, it might get stolen. However, if she reports it to the police, she will get another solar panel at no cost. If they get broken or damaged by hail, wind, or other causes, they can be replaced for just $5. Francis wants to the next one of our workers to get one, so he is on the schedule. Shaban wants two units so he can get eight lights. Again, we will pay the down payment for him, but he will have to make the monthly payments. We have learned that unless people have a real vested interest in whatever we are providing, they just don’t take good care of it, be it biosand filters, bicycles, sewing machines, or whatever, so everyone makes a token payment of some kind. It has worked very well so far. We are so proud of John and the solar project. He has run into many glitches but reprogrammed or figured out how to overcome them all. This wouldn’t have worked without him. Did I say I was proud?