I’m pleased to let you all know that the project trip was a success. All solar panels and cabinets have been installed! All systems are fully operational and the community has already begun taking advantage of the power to work after dark, charge their cellphones, watch TV, listen to music, etc. Our main concern initially was about collecting final payment from project partners. After some procedural arm wrestling and Pulsiano’s persistent efforts, the Municipality (our Local government partner) finally handed us a check for their share of project expenses. Cime, the local solar panel provider, just sent us an email saying that they have received all payments and are eager to work with us again.

This whole trip could almost entirely be described by one word – clutch! When we first got to Cime in the morning (on the 13th), they told us the manuals would not be ready until 2pm (which is when our flight was leaving). This was a big problem. After some insistence, we arranged for them to deliver the manuals at 1pm to the airport – they were late. We somehow managed to get the manuals and run through the airport just in time to board our flight. We managed to do 3 days of training with the electrical commitees in Suyo and Ccelcca (and discovered some rivalry between these 2 communities). Eryn and Arely were a huge help in those trainings and we wish we could have had them for longer (they left on the 20th after a week). I think the star of this trip was really Dallas (AKA: Pedrito, AKA: the Dallas Lama). The community put on a big celebration for us – actually 2 celebrations, one in Suyo and one in Ccelcca. Suyo asked Dallas to do the honor of breaking their bottle at the opening ceremony. It took him 4 swings but he eventually got it (we have it on video). Ccelcca asked us to dance and Dallas’s incredible moves stole the show once again (also on video). The next day, the women of Ccelcca expressed their desire to have a fair skinned baby like Dallas and at least one woman said she wanted to name her next son Dallas. The trip was a lot of fun. Nathan also captured some amazing drone footage of Japura and at least 3 new potential projects for next year. Word about the solar panels has spread like wild fire in the surround communities. We’ve received over 16 requests from different communities in the region for solar panels and water projects. In fact, the evenings during our last 3 days were spent meeting with people at the ADRA center who travelled from all over (some very far away) to tell us about their communities and to earnestly request our help. We have a lot more to share with you guys, but that’s a little preview. Thanks for your interest and support. Hope your summers are going well. Chow. -Simon Ionashku          

     

Saying goodbye to Arely and Eryn at bus station – Tuesday June 20, 2017. Clockwise from Left: Arely Hernandez-Cruz, Eryn Hopps, Stephanie Septembre, Nathan Gray, Dallas Mitchell, Jorge Huaraco (Local Solar System Installer), Roger (Driver and Quechua Translator), and Simon Ionashku.