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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Thanks and Special Mentions:
Lindsey Wilson College
Siemens Building Technologies
Mr. Rollin McFarland, Lake Cumberland Technology Center
Doug Keaton, Director of Career and Technolgy Education, The NEED Project
Be on the watch for another blog post soon regarding Windy!!