After a few days in the scenic hills of Nepal, you the visitor will begin to see the barriers that confront the local people. As you might expect, this often puts an education almost beyond reach. Many children can't get to a school safely during the monsoon--rivers block their path. Many children have no way to study at home once the sun is down for at best they have only hearth light.
VillageTech Solutions (USA) and our partner VillageSolutions (Nepal) developed this WireBridge (project #4522) and the EcoLight systems (project #3925) as solutions for many of the communities and households.
As with our own vehicles and home appliances, all mechanical systems require maintenance--including of course the WireBridges. The communities as well as their central government have few resources, and for now are unable to maintain this infrastructure.
To keep the paths to school open, we need sponsors to "Adopt-a-Bridge", just as we do to keep our own highways clean. Much like helping an individual child in school, this amounts to sponsoring a trail-full of children. No need to build another school--just make sure the kids can get there and back home safely. Stay tuned--we'll present a bridge, ready for adoption shortly.
VTS and VillageSolutions are already starting the rehabilitation of two of the bridges thanks to generous donors.
Nepal's people consume less that 1% of the energy per capita used in the United States. And nearly all of their electric power comes from 'renewable' hydroelectric sources.
But there the 'good news' ends. In the winter, today, the rivers have so little water that electricity is rationed--those lucky enough to be on the grid get only about 8 hours per day. Those beyond the grid cannot work, read, or study after dark unless they burn expensive kerosene, invest in some solar device, or rely on hearthlight--from the vanishing forests.
There's no Nepalese 'Consumer Reports' comparing the value of various lighting products. Most products are simple, cheap, and lack critical components--especially what is called a 'charge controller'-- built-in electronics that protect the storage battery from damage.
The SunLight systems have a robust charge controller. And there's another advantage. Each system comes with wires, switches and lamps so that the homeowner can install permanent lighting in at least four locations. Light in each location can be controlled independently.
As the rivers shrink and the darkness expands, the SunLights are coming on!
Our partner VillageSolutions is now producing two versions--the most affordable is 1 watt, the other is 10 watt. The boxes holding the charge controller and battery are shown below.
Eager for another adventure, my wonderful mother-in-law Hannah Carter, at the age of 81, joined us for a trek in Nepal's Khumbu. It was not only her first time trekking in Nepal. but also her first time sleeping in a tent. But she was determined to see the Himalaya, especially Mount Everest. And did.
At that time (1996) we were designing the first WireBridge.
Hannah's kindness touched many people. In her memory a bridge is now being built in Lamjung District of Nepal, over the Dordi River, in a place called Kirtipur. The river blocks access to much-needed schooling and health care, and limits access to markets and farm land for the local residents. We estimate that about 100 students and 100 other villagers will use this new bridge daily throughout the year. And in the distance, the mountains will be watching.
This is not the first bridge given as a living memorial, nor we hope will it be the last.
Here is a glimpse of the village, the surrounding countryside, and the mountains in the distance.
We hope in the next report to have photos from the construction and inauguration!