Since my last report there has been a change of government in Malawi, which led to further delays in getting the solar equipment moving to Likoma Island. For example, we were required to make a new application for import duty and VAT exemption. But we continued to persevere and it is (literally) with great joy that I write to tell you that the equipment is today on the Ilala Ferry on its way to the Island. The installation engineers are also on the ferry, so the work is about to begin.
I am looking forward very much to writing again with photos of the completion of phase 1. The main hospital buildings will have 24 hour power soon.
Thank you for your continued patience and support.
As I write, the components for the solar installation at St Peter's Hospital are being repacked for their journey by road to Mzuzu, where they will cross Lake Malawi on the Ilala Ferry over to Likoma Island. We are hopeful that the solar installation will commence in the next week.
This report is short, as I will be writing again soon with photos of the complete solar power system and of St Peter's Hospital working with full power. What a great day it will be when the hospital has power whenever needed.
In the meantime, I leave you with some photos of other work which African Steps is doing at the hospital.
Thank you once again for your help - with your support we really are able to prevent suffering and save lives.
As you know the 20 foot container (with the solar components for phase 1 of our solar power project) left England by ship in September 2013. It arrived in Beira, Mozambique in October and since then it has battled its way across Africa - we have encountered many obstacles, such as changed customs regulations, the need for new paperwork and unknown charges by various authorities. It really has been an exercise in perseverance.
But I am glad to report that the container has at last arrived in the capital of Malawi, Lilongwe and will shortly travel up to the north and then over to the Island on the Ilala ferry. The solar installation company has its team on standby and they will begin the installation as soon as the container arrives on Likoma.
So I hope to be sending a further report shortly giving you details of how the installation is progressing.
Thank you so much for your support for this project - 24 hour power for St Peter's hospital will be a reality soon.
P.S. A medical team from African Steps has recently visited the hospital and witnessed good care being given despite the limited resources available. The hospital has just been repaired and painted for the first time in about 30 years (funded by African Steps' supporters) and is looking good. I have included some photos taken during this recent visit.
It is with great pleasure that I write to confirm that we have raised sufficient funds for Phase 1 of our solar project at St Peter’s Hospital and to give you an update on progress. Phase 1 will involve the installation of solar power in all of the main hospital buildings, including the wards, operating theatre, x-ray department, laboratory, pharmacy and out patients department.
On 16th August, the ship sailed from Norfolk, England, containing all the solar components. It will take approximately two months for it to arrive in Lilongwe, Malawi. We have contracted a local Malawi solar company to do the installation on the Island and they are ready to commence this work as soon as the components reach Likoma Island.
At African Steps, we believe that it's vitally important to invest in the long term future of the hospital and so we decided to use robust, long lasting solar components, so that the system would be there and working well for many years. To give you an example of the quality of the components which are to be installed, we have used solar panels with a 30 year life.
We are very grateful to you for helping us to make phase 1 of the solar installation possible. The provision of 24 hour power will completely transform the care which the hospital is able to give.
But there is still more to be done and we are now fundraising for Phase 2 of the project, which will involve putting the remaining hospital buildings on to solar and also the setting up of a community charging station (“CCS”). At present most people on Likoma Island do not have any electricity and our plan is to use the solar system at the hospital to charge solar lamps which the community can then rent from the CCS. The profits from the CCS will be used to maintain the hospital’s solar system. Our dream is to reduce the use of kerosene on the Island (which is too expensive for most people and is also dangerous, as it leads to many serious burn incidences and respiratory problems). We hope that most households will be able to find the small cost of renting a solar lamp and this will mean that they will be more healthy and children will be able to see at night (it’s pitch black from 6pm) to do their homework.
Thank you, once again for your support and making our work possible.
With Best wishes,
Trustee, African Steps
I am very excited to report that the funds have been raised to install phase 1 of the solar power system at St Peter's Hospital. The components will travel to Malawi by ship and will be installed this Autumn. The hospital will be rewired prior to the installation - this really needs doing, as the attached photograph demonstrates.
THE PARTS OF THE HOSPITAL WHICH DESPERATELY NEED POWER WILL HAVE SOLAR SOON...this really will end much suffering and save people's lives.
We will continue to fundraise for phase 2, which, among other things, will bring solar to the new TB isolation unit which is going to be built.
Thank you so much for your support and for making this project a reality.
With best wishes,
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