We finally did it! We have raised the funds necesssary to install a solar hot water system. Soon, funds will be transferred to Madagascar to pay for the installation by a local renewable energy company.
Right now, at the end of March, it's the end of the cyclone season in Madagascar and by June the weather will turn colder as winter comes to the southern latitudes. Of course, at the altitude of Antananarivo, around 1,300 meters, winter temperatures are too low for bathing with cold water, especially for the infants and toddlers. So, everyone at Famonjena is waiting with baited breath for the installation of the solar hot water.
I have some new photos of the children from the orphanage, but due to the very slow internet connnection here in Burma, where I am at present, I am unable to upload them. Hopefully, I'll get a stronger connection later, or I will upload them when I go to Thailand at the end of April.
Once again, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude on behalf of Solar Roots and the orphans of Famonjena to all our supporters who have given so generously to make this project a reality.
With the solar hot water system in l'Akany Tafita being so successful and well received, Solar Roots has had a request to install another system in a sister orphanage called l'Akany Famonjena. Whereas, l'Akany Tafita is located in a very poor urban neighborhood in Antananarivo, l'Akany Famonjena is out beyond the suburbs, in a semi rural setting. It is very quiet there - except when a jumbo jet comes in to land at the nearby Ivato airport! I spent a memorable couple of days at l'Akany Famonjena two years ago, where I got to see the large plot of land they have and to hear about their plans for vegetable gardens.
I am anxiously waiting to get new photos of l'Akany, so I can post them in our Global Giving reports. But for now, I will post some photos from a solar hot water installation we did last year at St Mathews Orphanage Center in Pyin Oo Lwin, Burma. The next one at Famonjena will look very similar.
In the meantime, I would like that thank you, our donors for your support, and to wish you all the very best for the New Year. May 2014 be a year of increased stability in Madagascar, as well as the year when the orphans of l'Akany Famonjena get their first hot solar showers!
Winter is coming to an end in Anatananarivo and soon it will be cyclone season again. However, at Akany Tafita, this winter was different from any previous one - this year, the kids had access to copious amounts of hot water for showering. This makes such a difference in their young lives. In the poor neighborhood of Anosibe, where Akany Tafita is located, most people have to buy water by the liter at the local water point and most families cannot afford to heat the water for washing. Having a place where the kids can wash up once or twice a week is truly a godsend.
This spring I fulfilled a promise I had made last year to Dr Zoe and the children of L'Akany Tafita - I purchased and arranged the installation of a solar water heater. The supplier, Majinco Solar, included free installation, which suited me well, as I was suffering from knee problems at the time. All in all, the installation was completed in 3 days. First, a platform was welded to keep the solar water heater level and to orient it in the correct direction - North - as Madagascar is in the Southern Hemisphere. Next, the plumbing pipes were added and lastly, the evacuated glass tubes were installed.The kids were very excited as the water from the faucet got warmer and warmer, to the point where it was too hot for their hand. (In the showers, there is of course, a mixing valve that cuts in cold water to give the correct temperature of water for showering). At last the young people were able to take hot showers, something they could never have at home. This was specially appreciated as we headed into the coldest weather in July.
Dr Zoe, the Director of the Social Programs for the Episcopal Church in Madagascar, and Director of L'Akany Tafita, was so impressed by the solar heater's performance that she asked me to install another one in an orphanage on the outskirts of Antananarivo. We are still a good way short of our goal of $1,500, but with your help we can raise the funds and provide warm showers for the orphans too.
As winter approaches here in Madagascar, the second floor addition at l'Akany Tafita (Nest of Progress) is almost finished. There are now 3 classrooms upstairs, plus two small studio apartments for visitors. This leaves a larger space on the ground floor free to be rented out for functions such as marriages. This comprises an important part of l'Akany's income. It is hoped that the studio apartments will also provide a steady income stream, especially after the solar hot water is installed. I am staying in one of the apartments right now and showering with cold water is extremely unconfortable! We hope to have the solar hot water finished in the next month.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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