Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Uganda Project Update

Good Evening Everyone!
Just wanted to give a quick update on The Uganda Project. The picture below shows three of the selected lights in a pitch black room! The slideshow at the end of the post shows more of the detailed work!

We have finally made a decision on the type of lights that will be used. They have been purchased and are now on their way! Mr. Jeff Selby, heard me doing a radio spot on the WAVE last week, and called to offer help. As it turns out, he used to light his Amish home with batteries! He had some awesome LED light with an approximate 120 degree viewing angle. He so generously donated them to this project; Lindsey Wilson College (who funds the Academy) purchased four more matching lights for a total of SEVEN!! All seven lights when connected will not draw over 2 amps!!! This means that the people of the village of Buliike can use the battery for over a week without having to charge it again!! (These are, of course, calculations, and have yet to be proven in a field test!). Special THANKS to Jeffries Hardware for helping us out with the PVC (which will be the structure of the light plant) and the wire and connectors. Also, a very special THANK you to Superior Battery for donating the deep cycle marine battery that will be used!
Next steps:
1. Gotta find an exporter that will do an "all inclusive" shipment. Due to the battery acid, special papers will need to be acquired and filled out, and a complete bill of materials must be prepared in a "special way". I have lots to learn about overseas shipments!
2. Once the lights are here, construct the structural part of the light plant using PVC pipe. We have the make the wiring harness and purchase a few switches so that this plant will be as simple as possible to operate.
3. TEST!! We need to figure out by testing how long the battery will keep the lights illuminated and exactly how long it will take the solar panel(s) to fully recharge the battery. This will be especially important for the life cycle of the battery itself.
4. Write instructions....using pictures and diagrams. Of course, our friend, Ronnie, can speak and read English; however, I would like to challenge the students to write assembly instructions for people who don't speak English. Isn't that what LEGO instructions are???

The fund raising efforts are going well! We are selling raffle tickets every day. We ordered 500 "The Uganda Project" wristbands today and will be selling those very soon. Proceeds from this particular fundraiser will go primarily to the water purification project, including the LifeStraw shipment (see my last post for more info on LifeStraw).

Wanna help? Comment on this post and let me know how you would like to contribute!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Where's Windy!

The Energy Technology Career Academy makes the local digital newspaper! Check out the article! Paste the link into your browser!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Uganda Project

I am so excited to tell you about a project that the ETCA is taking on called "The Uganda Project"! We are reaching our arms around the globe to a small village in Uganda, Africa called Buliike. Let me start from the beginning...
After a Christmas play this past year, my dad introduced me to a man named Ronnald (Ronnie) Kayula and his wife Ronah and daughter Praise. I learned that he had graduated from Lindsey Wilson College with both Christian Ministries and Professional Counseling degrees and that he and his family were going back to Uganda on January 31st. I asked about electricity, and he said, "Oh no....it is much too expensive! We only have candle light." So my wheels began to turn. I remembered the solar panels that my Engineering class made last year. Could they possibly help light this village for the first time in history??? As I began explaining the solar panels to Ronnie, tears welled up in his eyes. Then I knew....I had to do something!
Soon after, Dr. Starr approved some funding for the project and the students and I have been investigating different lighting options, battery types, cart designs, etc. Then Ronnie and his family visited the Academy students at both Adair and Russell County high schools. I felt this was important because I wanted the students to feel vested in this project; and what better way to do this than to meet the people that would be using the light! During the visit, Ronnie and Ronah talked about life in Uganda and how HUGE this lighting project actually is.

They told us that there are people who have never seen artificial light in their entire life...that there are children that cannot go to school because they have to work during the day, and have no light to study by at night...that people die there daily due to HIV/AIDS, poverty, and war. The students could hardly believe that there are people that still live in these conditions. They immediately shared the desire to help! You see, Ronnie and his family could choose to stay here in the "lap of luxury" (the USA)...yet, they are choosing to go back to a poverty-stricken village in Africa in an attempt to bring hope to a hopeless people....

The Junior and Senior classes are working on the solar cart design. This cart will be mobile so that the people can move it from place to place if needed. The cart will house the battery as well as the lights. The wiring plan is yet to be determined because we haven't settled on the type of lights yet!
The Sophomore class wanted to help with the clean water issues. They will be building a solar purification system for their water. As a missionary explained last week, he watched people there wash themselves in a puddle, then someone else would come get water to drink from that same puddle. He also told us about a little girl who found an empty water bottle. She took off the cap and put her tongue into the cap in hopes of getting the last little drop of water. The students cannot test this system until we get some sun!!!

So, in the meantime, we are launching a "Go Green Basket" fundraiser. Students are donating items daily. Some of the items include: Compact Flourescent Light (CFL) bulbs, reusable water bottle, dish towels, rope caulk, water faucet aereators, and more! Tickets on the basket are $1/ea or 6 for $5. Students will be selling tickets starting on Monday, February 7th during lunch. Each student will also be selling tickets individually. All proceeds will go to The Uganda Project. Most of the funds will go toward the purchase of 200 LifeStraws! (www.vestergaard-frandsen.com/lifestraw)

The company that makes these life-saving water purification straws, only sells the straws in $1000 bundles. This includes shipping to anywhere in the world directly from the factory in Asia. We are super excited about helping Uganda with our renewable energy technologies as well as with the LifeStraws!
Of course, if YOU want to help with The Uganda Project in any way, please contact me via email: spoonh@lindsey.edu.

Special Thanks and Special Mentions:
Lindsey Wilson College
Siemens Building Technologies
Jeffries Hardware
Superior Battery
Mr. Rollin McFarland, Lake Cumberland Technology Center
Kevin Spoon
Larry Bryant
Doug Keaton, Director of Career and Technolgy Education, The NEED Project
Terry Harvey

Be on the watch for another blog post soon regarding Windy!!

Dream BIG!!