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Solar cooker construction training in Haiti

February 29, 2012

Better late than never,  right?

After a couple weeks of exploring, a false start in the Dominican Republic, and a week of nothing (due to Carnaval), we are finally full on into building the first Solar Fire Phaeton arrays in Haiti!

Pictured, are Yom and Junior, of Eiffel Tower fame. They are two enterprising young gents from Cité Soleil, one of the most dangerous and impoverished slums in the western hemisphere. They are eager to learn and have the skills to get the job done. I was introduced to them by the fine folks here at Haiti Communitere.

HC is an outstanding organization here in Port-au-Prince. They have a secure compound with all sorts of elements which help people to start projects in Haiti. It is a sort of working hostel, where weary travelers have a place to rest their heads, and where they can lend a hand to longer term partner-projects who have ongoing activities here on base or out in the city. The Eiffel Tower project was one such initiative, and Junior and Yom got to know the HC team, and the workshop, so they were naturals for the first round of training. They are very excited to receive their training, certificate of course completion from ASTRA and honorary printed and bound construction manuals.

We should be done construction in the next couple of days, and be cooking by the weekend!

In other news, Dani has gone back to Canada, but not before she Grooved some kids at a local orphanage! Check out this video I shot:

I’ll post a more context post soon enough, but internet is rather spotty and pictures tell the story best…

Suffice it to say that there is a lot of action here in Haiti… not nearly as much rubble as I had been led to believe, at least not in the streets. Still many collapsed buildings around town, terrible garbage, and lots of street folks, but for every person on the street that tells you (me) or ‘whitey’ (blanc) to get out of Haiti, there are two who will smile and shake your hand and want to know what you’re up to, or what it’s like in your country. The tent cities are huge and widespread and sad sights to behold, but a lot of them have (near) adequate sanitation now, as well as solar panel ‘street’ lights. As a matter of fact the other day as I was riding a taptap I saw an group of enterprising individuals who had used a pickup truck and a cable to pull one of said streetlights down and were busy harvesting the valuable solar panel for sale on the black market.

I’m loving the food, and the weather, but storms are more frequent these days and the rainy season is moving in. Mosquitos abound but I have my trusty rechargeable bug zapper racket which I am using every 20 seconds to sweep my vicinity clear of the buggers.

Lots of work planned for the next couple of weeks… We’ll build two Phaetons and one oven. Further more we’re doing a revamp of the www.astraonline.ca website (courtesy of Elisha), as well as compiling a list of NGOs and potentially interested parties so that when the Phaeton arrays are finished we can do a couple of weeks of inviting and demonstrating in the hopes of teaming up with organizations with the resources to take Solar Fire mainstream in Haiti.

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