Farmers Union Meeting

13442235_1115914751764474_3447964151058590976_nIn the third week, we went to the farmer union meeting to meet much more local farmers. In this the farmers union meeting, their organization and way to disuses totally surprise me. Usually, I thought that this farmer union meeting might be a event that purpose is to connect local farmer. However, I was wrong. The farmers Union not only connect the local farmers but also teach local farmers about the latest agricultural knowledge. As the figure show, the host stands in front of local farmers and then teaches those farmers about a organic agricultural book published by a Korean agricultural doctor. The farmers focus on the lecture and take note that even harder than the classmate who I met in class at USF. After the theory lecture, each farmer give their practical experience to show what challenge they face. I am very surprised the this logical and organized way to maintain the meeting. I also feel that a lot of people put their effort in sustainability.

First Week in Kauai

13418852_1115914888431127_7906260753746635636_nAfter eight hours fly from the Tampa to Kauai, I finally got Kauai to start my trip of internship. In the first day of working for the Greenworks, We went to the farmer to know every body to get familiar with the environment. However, My physical clock was disturbed by the jet lag so that I felt very exhausted and didn’t pay too much attention when the external supervisor led us in the farm for the orientation. But, I feel very excited due to the fact the farm that I work for grow every organic plant. They don’t use any pesticide and chemical product to nurture the plant. This situation motivates my confidence in helping the local farm to become more sustainability. Because they care about the sustainability, renewable energy that I research for will help them to be greener.

Issues with fuel data

As I mentioned earlier, one of the goals of my internship is to develop a picture of the city’s fuel consumption over the past few years and to propose ways to reduce fossil fuel consumption in the future. As a starting point for this project, I had a few meetings with Largo’s fleet manager and other staff members in the division who deal with vehicle fueling on a daily basis. I was given access to an asset management system, which stores fuel consumption data so that I could begin generating reports and identifying fuel usage trends over recent years. As I began working on this and looking at the data, I found that the information did not match with the amount of money spent reported to have been spent on fuel in the annual budgets. This began a process of working with the fleet manager to determine why the data was so inaccurate and what can be done to ensure that I have reliable data for my analysis. After a good deal of exploring the various software systems and pieces of equipment involved in recording fuel consumption, we found that the aging fuel pumps were not accurately recording the true volumes of fuel being pumped each day to the electronic system. To hopefully get around this issue, I will be working on trying to find out if the department has any fuel consumption data that has been recorded in such a way that it is not subject to this problem.

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Here are some of the stacks of data that I sorted through before discovering the inaccuracies

…and a River for Every Day of the Year

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Interview with Bernard Ettinoffe – General Manager of DOWASCO

Managing Dominica’s Most Precious Resource – WATER

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WATER SECURITY

Though it is said that in Dominica “there is a river for everyday of the year” the Dominica Water and Sewerage Company (DOWASCO), does not want to take their abundance of water for granted. Mr. Bernard Ettinoffe, General Manager of DOWASCO knows all to well how finite and vulnerable the water resource is and how it can be negatively impacted by climate change, human activities and new development, quite easily.  Therefore, DOWASCO is determined to manage this precious resource appropriately and ensure the sustainability of water resources for all Dominicans now and into the future.

What is the current statistic on water provision throughout the country?

Presently over 97% of the islanders have potable water.  We would have been at 100% had it not been for Tropical Storm Erika in August of 2015.  At the time a new water system was set to be commissioned in the village of Belles by October of that year, but the storm wreaked havoc on our work there. 1,443,000 Eastern Caribbean Dollars (XCD) have been requested to complete that project.

CLEAN and SAFE DRINKING WATER

 

IMG_0059What efforts are in place to ensure that clean drinking water is supplied?

The way that DOWASCO maintains clean water systems is to obtain intakes from way up stream where the soil is not loose, where the rocks are more solid and where the water is not prone to silting.  Our best water sources are higher up and some  within the UNESCO World Heritage Site where people do not live and where agriculture and the felling of trees is not permitted.  Because there is no construction of any kind in that area, the water is very, very clean.  The water is pulled from those sites, chlorinated and delivered to the communities.  Depending on turbidity levels, others checks and treatments may include sedimentation, filtration, coagulation, and flocculation.  We always ensure that the water is very clean.  When cruise ships come into port, Dominica supplies the vessel with this same water which is double checked on board in the ship’s water testing labs.

The raw water quality is already very good, so most of the time chlorination is the only necessary treatment.  This is because we choose areas that are higher up in the mountains and have less interaction with people.  If we require a water intake in an area that has agriculture, the farmers in that area are paid a subsidy and are no longer allowed to utilize that land.  There is zero tolerance for the felling of trees and the planting of crops near a water intake area to ensure that no fertilizer or other runoff enters the water system.  In cases where turbidity can be high, for example with the Springfield/Antrim system that serves Roseau, (after the road was constructed, a lot of debris was dumped on the hillside), we have introduced coagulation and flocculation with that particular system.

HYDROPOWER

I have noticed the Hydroelectric Complex near Trafalgar falls. How does water in Dominica help in the generation of electricity?

The Dominica Electricity Services Company (DOMLEC) uses some hydropower which is generated from water coming down Trafalgar Falls from Fresh Water Lake.  DOWASCO has a bulk waterline that extends from the mountain power plant all the way down to the seashore and which has the potential to load ships with six million gallons of water per day.  Our intention is to use that water to load the ships, but once no ship is loading, to use that water to generate hydropower and upload it onto DOMLEC’s grid. DOWASCO has a Power Purchase Agreement with DOMLEC for this process.  There is a trade-off from the electricity that DOWASCO utilizes and the balance which is uploaded to the grid.  More specifically, there is a designated price that DOMLEC would pay for the generated electricity, which is included in the Power Purchase Agreement.  If the water company uses more electricity than what is uploaded, then we pay the difference; if we use less, then the electric company will refund the difference based on the prearranged price.  Presently, less than 20% of the community is using hydropower.  The goal has always been to utilize more, but recently investment and focus has moved toward the development of geothermal energy.

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR UNIVERSITY RESEARCH  

If students from the University of South Florida had the opportunity to participate in an internship here, what kinds of water projects could they be involved with?

If university students were interested in water projects in Dominica, they could study the linkages between forestry, the water resources and the impact of climate change.  Some water resource studies have already been conducted by the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) of the University of the West Indies.  A team of students could follow up that work.  Presently Dominica is looking at a water audit to determine the quantity and quality of both surface water and underground water, along with the identification of the water recharge rate and an understanding of the water balance as a whole.  The country could also benefit from a study of the independent efforts at rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation and water reuse and turning that study into a campaign that encourages the sustainable use of water island-wide.

MITIGATING WATER SCARCITY IN THE CARIBBEAN

With all of this water on the Nature Island, is there any opportunity for entrepreneurship?

Not all islands in the Caribbean are as blessed with the abundance of water like Dominica.  Water-scarcity is a problem for several countries in the region and there is an opportunity to leverage the existing capabilities of Dominica to meet that need.  Dominica is known as the Nature Island; building along that theme with the promotion of quality Nature Island water from the tropical forests of Dominica, we could be a supplier to water-stressed areas in the region like Antigua, Barbuda, and Barbados, among others.  Dominica has the highest per capita of water in the region.

WATER-ENERGY-FOOD NEXUS

At the Patel College of Global Sustainability we have learned about the Water-Energy-Food Nexus and how a change to one sector can significantly impact another.  How is this systems thinking approach considered in Dominica?

 

In Dominica, energy is used to provide water and water is used to generate energy.  As much as possible, gravity is used to deliver clean water to many of the residences and business on the island.  In some areas, however, we are obliged to use pumping stations to deliver water to communities that are above the waterline. Although the cost of that water is high, DOWASCO does not pass those costs on to the consumers in that area.  Instead, we make up some of the cost of energy used to deliver that water through earnings from the hydropower production and the power purchase agreement with the electric company.  More and more, demand for water is also required for the irrigation of agriculture.  In the minds of most people, gone are the days when gardens could rely solely on rainwater.  Certainly rainwater harvesting could provide some of this water requirement and productivity could increase significantly if people would simply learn how to better manage their water usage.  But for now, the food production levels are still heavily dependent on the water system.  This all contributes to the Water, Energy, Food Nexus in Dominica.

Even though it is believed that Dominica has 365 rivers, Mr. Ettinoffe is hopeful that best practices in water management will be utilized all over the country which will conserve this finite resource and contribute even more to their status as the Nature Island of the Caribbean.

Jerry John Comellas; University of South Florida; Patel College of Global Sustainability

3..2..1.. Blast Off!

This week I had the ability to be up close for the last rocket launch of the Atlas 5 series. It was pretty amazing to watch! Below is photos of the launch site when the sun was rising around 7 am.

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This week I also put together a presentation to showcase how LED lights would be more efficient for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex. The presentation was compromised of calculations of how much money that they could save, and how it could help them lower their carbon emissions.

Another thing I worked on was better learning the story and process behind the excess food that is being donated to the local sharing center. Each week the main kitchen is donating cooked food that would otherwise be taken to the landfill. This is part of their GreenPath program of continuous improvement.  I am working on an article that will be published in Delaware North’s newsletter.

Down Time in Dominica

There are a routine number of activities that are common among the locals on the weekends: Saturdays involve time in the garden, going to the market and washing clothes; Sundays are about going to church, eating a big lunch and taking a long nap.  And when time allows, you fill find them hiking forest trails, swimming in the river or relaxing on the beach.

For me personally, I just spent a whole week lining up appointments, creating surveys, making phone calls, sending emails, popping in to government office buildings, connecting with tourism organizations and networking with people on the island for the development of my capstone internship project.  So to get a little down time over the weekend has been a real joy.  On Saturday I participated in an amazing ecotourism adventure called Hike Fest, which I will write about in another blog.  So let me tell you what I did today.

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Today is Sunday.  After attending a local church service filled with island style music, dancing, special artistic presentations by the youth and some powerful preaching, I decided to hike into the jungle forest to try and find that cocoa fruit that I had promised to show you guys.  As I made my way to the trail head I could smell the lemon grass that had recently been cut and all the evidence of a tropical island was around me.  The Caribbean Sea was shimmering in the distance. Village streets were lined with trees adorned by mangos, bananas, kokoi-plantains, limes, soursop, breadfruit and pawpaws (papayas).  I passed three kinds of nut trees too – coconut, almonds and cashews. (I try to avoid the cashew tree even though it has a tasty plum;  I’ve learned the hard way that tampering too much with a raw cashew nut can cause a severe allergic reaction.) Moving on.

As I entered the trail I was greeted by five baby goats that were leaping on and off of a large stone – cute and curious.  The trail meandered along a river which created the soundtrack for my afternoon trek.  I found several guava trees along the trail but the fruit was still green; so I helped myself to some of the young red leaves to make into a delicious tea later on.  I located some cocoa (cacao) trees but most of the fruit that remained had already dried up.  Finally I found a ripe one, but it was so high up I couldn’t get to it.  I started to climb the tree, but I had to step on a termite mound… so I changed my mind.  I threw a couple of rocks at the cocoa even making a direct hit but that thing was not coming down.

I decided to walk further up the mountain trail toward one of the Waitikubuli entry points (the Waitikubuli is the longest hiking trail in the Caribbean).  This segment of the trail has a primitive but adventurous swinging bridge like a scene right out of a movie.  Passion Flowers, Flamboyant Trees and wild Caribbean Orchids gave color to the green landscape.  Bananaquit birds were chirping loudly all around me, Green Throated Carib Hummingbirds buzzed by quickly then darted into the trees and two Jaco Parrots squawked overhead. At last I found more chocolate trees and one of them was ripe and in reach.  Hooray!

The walk back home was just as nice and natural as the walk up the trail and it concluded with a not as natural dip in the swimming pool, but hey, I’m not complaining.  Come discover Dominica for yourself.

Cocoa (Cacao) Fruit

The Other Dominicans

Tomorrow I begin my internship on the Nature Island of the Caribbean.  When I tell people that I will be working on the island of Dominica (Dom-min-EEKA), their responses are clear that they have never heard of the island nation. “Do you have to learn Spanish to go there? That’s the country that shares an island with Haiti, right? How come you pronounce it Dom-min-EEKA… isn’t it supposed to be Duh-min-ni-kah? Ohh, I have a friend that is from the Dominican Republic!”

After a quick geography lesson, I explain to them that the Commonwealth of Dominica is a Windward Isle located in the Lesser Antilles and they are closer to the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe than they are to any Spanish speaking islands. The people of Dominica speak English and a version of French Creole called Patois. Dominica does not share an island with Haiti, Great Britain, France and not even the United States for that matter.

Truly, these “other Dominicans” do not like it so much that people have no idea that they exist. Cristopher Columbus sailed there too; and he encountered a tribe of Island Caribs, the Kalinagos, when he landed there. Slaves were brought to that island too and provided the work force for both French and British occupation. Dominica is the true quintessential volcanic, tropical paradise. The island has the second largest boiling lake in the world, the longest hiking trail in the Caribbean (the Waitikubuli) and beautiful coral reefs that are on the path of whale migration. Tropical fruit trees and coconuts are there in abundance. Green forests define the landscape along with magnificent waterfalls and a “river for every day of the year.” The only living species of Sisserou Parrots live in Dominica. The country has its own government, departments of government, education system, healthcare, seaport, airport, tourism and even an American Medical School.

The point that people are unfamiliar with the island nation reveals the reality that Dominica has not received the development attention and investment that many of the other Caribbean Islands have received. Some might say this is both a blessing and a curse; others might say that it is both a problem and an opportunity. However one defines it, due to the lack of attention their economy is fragile and employment outside of subsistence farming or fishing is limited. Some innovative community leaders have done well and have created jobs for others. Ross Medical School also provides some jobs. Carnival Cruise Lines now comes into port there. Expatriates from Europe and the United States have also sought opportunity in Dominica. Eco-resorts, health tourism, and organic island living are becoming popular buzz words associated with the island.

In summary, because the natural beauty of the island has been preserved and because sustainability and ecotourism are now more frequently associated with travel destinations, and because the island has so much biodiversity, forests, mountains, fresh water and geothermal activity – the opportunity is there to help create a sustainable island that serves as a model to the world of successful green and blue economies that generate employment for its people. With some creativity, we can turn current problems into opportunities for university student research, social-entrepreneurship, poverty reduction, ecotourism, pesca-tourism, agri-tourism, renewable energy generation, all of which contribute to the goals in the country’s “Organic Island Initiative.”  Follow me on my journey as I unveil some of the sustainability practices already on the island and identify innovative ways for moving forward in their Green and Blue Economies.

Sustainability and the Nature Isle – by Jerry John Comellas

Month 1: Guten Tag auf Deutschland

Hello faithful readers of the PCGS blog!

This is my first post from the cold, overcast south of Deutschland (am I selling it well?). It’s my first time living in an area with fall foliage, and I love witnessing the change of seasons! During my two months here, I’ll be completing my internship with the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. A lot has happened since my arrival – I’ve refashioned my thesis, participated in an international workshop, interviewed local stakeholders, and traveled around a bit!

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The building I work in with Dr. Eckart – located 10 minutes from the main campus of HsKA.
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A path through the main campus of HsKA. Look at those leaves!

After giving a short presentation to Dr. Eckart on my proposal the first week, we sat and devised a plan. This plan has ultimately turned my original project into an Institutional Analysis, which will support the local government in analyzing the promotion of alternative fuels and vehicles from their perspective. This involves a lot of mapping to understand the role of stakeholders across the city and their interactions. The end goal is to identify existing gaps and then provide sound, region-specific suggestions for promoting alternative fuels and vehicles at the local level (think along the lines of Clean Cities Coalition).

In the weeks since, I’ve interviewed local stakeholders, including a local municipality worker who heads the city’s SmarterCity initiative, which aims to use the green economy as a way to develop new business models, increase innovation and make Karlsruhe a desirable location for businesses of the future. I met him at an e-mobility center that serves as a hub for emerging products and technology – allowing locals to take tours of the center and even rent or purchase vehicles. I was blown away by the number of gadgets at the center – including a Volocopter, an e-helicopter. Interesting concept, though you won’t find me in one anytime soon!

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Source: E-Volo

During my third week here, I participated in an international workshop with students from Canada and Germany. My team and I worked to design a potential bicycle expressway between the city center of Karlsruhe and a neighboring village. Over the week, we researched the area, compared different routes, presented our findings and provided sound recommendations to a room of stakeholders, such as the University President, urban planners, traffic engineers and spokespeople from Siemens. The workshop also included a trip to Freiburg, the “green capital” of Germany renowned for its public transit and the sustainable neighborhood of Vauban. We toured Freiburg on bike and learned a lot about how the city has integrated sustainable modes of transportation – only 32% of residents drive personal vehicles on a daily basis there.

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Freiburg, Germany

Outside of work, I’ve been using this opportunity to do a bit of traveling. I spent a couple days in Strasbourg, France, which is only an hour from Karlsruhe – amazing buildings and even more amazing Tarte flambée. My roommate and I also rented a car one day and went through the Pfalz – a region in Germany notorious for its vineyards. We visited small villages, their markets, and even hiked up to a castle where we spent the afternoon rummaging for chestnuts (which is actually tough work). Next week I’ll be visiting Berlin and have hopes of seeing Heidelberg before the end of my time here.

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Strasbourg, France
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Rheinland-Pfalz region of Germany

Stay tuned for more information on my project and hopefully some stunning photos of Berlin!

The Million Dollar Question: Where is the world going with carbon trading?

Amongst many research and analysis tasks during the past few weeks, I’ve been asked to develop a high-level overview on the future of carbon trading for the CEO in the  company I’m interning at. The assignment seemed somewhat easy and straightforward; However I soon discovered that I’ve been tasked to find the answer for the on million dollar question. After reaching out to some experts in the area and researching available literature. I have developed a 3 pages report that later had to be condensed into just four bullet points summary for the CEO 🙁 Of course that’s what a high-level overview for a CEO means 😉

Anyhow, I have refined my findings and developed below narrative to share with you the highlights of my research.. Hope you find it useful.

Title CT Research

IN A NUTSHELL

  1. The overarching message is that carbon markets are sizable; they are bouncing back and expanding
  2. At the early stages, from now to 2025, markets will develop nationally and at the sector level. At the international level, an accounting system will be developed to ensure the integrity of carbon reductions. It will also avoid double counting
  3. After 2025 and up to 2050, the markets will be developed and connected at the international level
  4. As we move gradually to 2050, a more centralized market will be developed on the basis of knowledge gained and practical experience gained as national and regional markets mature

THE GLOBAL OUTLOOK

EUROPEAN UNION: Stumbling with stability in the offing, but structural reform is needed  

  • Price for Phase III of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS)will probably continue downward, but will eventually stabilize (expected average price is  above €10)
  • The EU (ETS) cap-and-trade system fixed ‘supply’ of allowances resulted in a significant surplus that could remain available for years to come; thus, hampering low- carbon investment across EuropeEU
  • The 2014 backloading’ amendment delayed the auction of 900 million EUAs, including a 400 million reduction in auctioned permits in 2014 with the aim of temporarily rebalancing supply and demand. However, the longer term prospects are still not clear.
  • The EU Commission has proposed a Market Stability Reserve that would allow the quantity of EUAs auctioned to be reduced when there is a large surplus of EUAs in circulation.
  • Market participants think the EU ETS’s proposed Market stability reserve is a step in the right direction, but without other reforms like setting a tighter 2030 targets, it want help  in stimulating significant  low-carbon investment

 CHINA: Rapid evolution and powerful force

  • The “next generation” of carbon trading is shifting the power towards ChinaFlag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svg
  • Chinese officials view market based instruments as the most cost effective way for addressing climate change
  • As part of its 2030 national climate and energy framework, China launched six new emissions trading ‘pilots’
  • Despite of China’s support for carbon base solutions, market expert’s cautioned that much remains uncertain about what the government intends to do and at what pace

 NORTH AMERICA: California celebrates its one year anniversary and gets linked with QuebecUSCANDA

  • California is successfully implementing the  most rigorous cap-and-trade program in  the  world
  • In January 2014, California and Quebec linked their carbon markets under the Western Climate Initiative
  • However, experts are divided as to wither the US will implement a national carbon emissions policy under a federal action by 2020

New forms of globally interconnected markets are emerging  

  • New and emerging markets are forming  where the UNFCCC top-down approach for carbon Capturemarket is being replaced/enhanced by bottom-up trends for market
  • International talks through the UN will still have value for keeping the climate ch
    ange present on national agendas and harmonizing accounting and reporting methods

New carbon pricing landscape is informed by lessons learned from the past

  • Both private and public sectors involved in carbon markets are learning form the 1st generations of carbon pricing schemes; the lessons learned from the EU ETS, the Australian Carbon Pricing Mechanism (CPM) and the Western Climate Initiative are being used to develop new market based instruments for carbon trading in the developing carbon markets.

COP 21 in Paris: paving the way for carbon market futurelogo-cop-21-carr--

  • The upcoming COP talks in Paris  and its anticipated climate deal (Nov 30-Dec 11,15) will build the foundation for the next 20 years of carbon trading and climate investment

THE ROLE OF BUSINESS

  • Between now and Paris, businesses need play an active role in in shaping the way of structuring an international agreement that enables the private sector participation.
  • At the same time, businesses at domestic levels need to engage with governments to enact policies that not only create an incentivizing market, but also regulate carbon pricing in the supply chain

Sources and References

Eng. Khalid M. Abuleif, Sr. Advisor to the Minster and the Chief Negotiator for the Climate Agreements at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in Saudi Arabia

http://www.ieta.org/ghgmarket2014

http://www.ieta.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=856:ieta-s-2014-ghg-market-sentiment-survey&catid=26:reports&Itemid=93

http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/6/7/carbon-markets/wheres-world-going-carbon-trading

*All pictures are form google image.

Week 4: Lighting up the Dark

The finished product
The finished product

You may be well aware of my professional and academic goals in Nicaragua at this point but I have also made a personal goal: to see a sloth.  During my time here I have had the pleasure of engaging in a number of excursions, each of which presented an opportunity to see a sloth in the wild. The only thing is, I could never find one. Whilst at COPRAJ, the director, Randy, had informed me that “sloths are mystical creatures and you do not find the sloth, the sloth finds you.” Wise words, Randy. Clearly he was right. After spending hours upon hours looking to the tall trees of the jungle, I was slothless. One morning we geared up to install a solar panel at a small farm that was about a 1.5 hour panga ride from Bluefields. On the way out, it finally happened! I saw my first sloth. Or did it see me? This was going to be a good day.

Few things are more refreshing than coconut water straight from the source
Few things are more refreshing than coconut water straight from the source
Jungling
Jungling

The farmers were actually the parents of Marling, a lovely woman who works in the blueEnergy kitchen. They had lived on their farm for 50 years and never had electricity… Until now! The day prior we had the opportunity to attend a solar PV installation workshop wherein we learned all about the strengths and weaknesses of solar power along with positioning for optimum efficiency, maintenance, and care. I was so excited as I am concentrating in water (which has been covered greatly by my mission to monitor biosand filters) and renewable energy (something that, up until this point, I thought I would have only experienced in the texts). No, now I was getting the opportunity for a hands on experience from start to finish. We were also taught about how to wire the system, the battery, and the inverter. Essentially everything from wire stripping to powering on was covered. Following the class, I felt fairly confident in my abilities but was still thankful that a seasoned volunteer and engineer would be accompanying us as we brought power to the farm. The next morning a group of five of us gathered the necessary tools and supplies, including the actual panel. There is not exactly an Amazon or UPS out here where items can get from point A to point B seamlessly and conveniently. No, this was on us and the transport was an adventure in itself to say the least.

Seems harmless until you have to cross it onto a rocking boat with gear
Seems harmless until you have to cross it onto a rocking boat with gear

We arrived at the farm and, after taking a look around, meeting the family, and allowing some time for jungling (a term I developed whilst here which is the act of hiking and exploring the jungle). Time to get to work. The family had already chosen an area that provided ample, direct sunlight and fabricated a post from a tree that would support the panel. The rest was yet to do. I got to assist with measurements, sawing of metal to size, and fastening the panel to the wooden post. Alongside me were the family from the grandfather to the young grandson. Everyone was involved and each person took part – it was great to share the experience with the recipients. Next was the rising of the panel. When it were up, the family (and us) looked on in admiration. We spent the rest of the day stripping and connecting wires, installing lights and switches, and the inverter and control center.

Working on securing the panel
Working on securing the panel
Putting the panel up
Putting the panel up

Somewhere along the lines, a connection was not quite right so we had to postpone completion to the next morning. It was almost dark out and there was no room for us to stay at the farm. Luckily, a friend lived about 30 minutes down the river and offered to host us for the evening. I won’t lie, I was a bit nervous about taking the panga through the jungle waters at night (with just flashlights). It actually turned out to be quite relaxing in truth. The cool night breeze was a welcome relief from the heat and humidity of the day’s work. The lack of light pollution and clouds also provided for a highly visible night sky and we all looked on at the stars and constellations – beautiful. We arrived at the house and trekked through a slightly swampy area up a hill and began setting up our hammocks. These hammocks had mosquito nets built into them – bonus! I slept amazing and woke round four in the morning to the sound of howler monkeys calling in the jungle and chickens from the farm who had also camped out with us. We got ready, enjoyed some coffee (yes!) and set back to the finish the job we had started. The work that remained was simple so another fellow and I decided to get in some jungling before it was time to go. After about an hour of roaming, we decided to head back but came across the grandfather. He ended up taking us on a two-hour tour of his property, explaining his farming techniques, crops, and wood and produce sales. He was extremely knowledgeable of the flora and fauna and we were grateful for the tour. When we got back to the house the lights were on! The panel was going to increase the safety of the family (no candles and lighted areas outside to assist with getting to the restroom) and save them some money on batteries (they had previously relied on flashlights at night). We gathered round for a photo, said our goodbyes, and got back in the panga for yet another journey.

On the way back to the Bluefields, two more sloths found me.