Welcome to my global village!

Sharing with the readers my experiences through my travel, interaction with different cultures and my involvement through community work! Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

An experience with a renewable energy project

I had the opportunity to join Atul for his French funded Renewable Energy project 'Banish the Kerosene Lamp' when he visited Namau village (25 kms from Ba) and then villages in Vanua Levu in the remote locations in the last three months. It was not only an eye-opening experience but also helped me understand and appreciate the basic things in life that we take for granted. The project targets villages in remote locations that utilize kerosene lamps or diesel generators for lighting purposes and I was humbled by the extent of the project which involves creating awareness, training and improving livelihoods while for the villagers villagers it involves taking ownership of the solar system in every sense. Visiting these villages and watching the whole process was a very rewarding experience for me. Pictures speak volumes so here I have some of my favourite shots, hope you will enjoy and learn from this visual journey that this post intends for!
Demonstration at one of the remote schools in Vanua Levu

Crossing the river to come and pick their light

One of the solar system also has a small fan along with 4 lights - A child looking at the fan while drining milk without fuss now
Villagers happily going back home with their solar system

Villagers take keen interest to understand how solar light works with the small solar panel
Atul with his troop heading to another small island with solar light system
The contrast - Solar LED lights on the either sides with kerosene lamp in the middle

A training session in Namau village

Children looking at one solar light after a talk by Atul on Renewable Energy and Solar lights
And that is what makes all the difference - the spark in the children's eyes and the smile as they curiously explore the light making the whole project a worthwhile effort!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My experience with Digital Adapters

Last 6 weeks have been an amazing personal journey for me when I started some familiarization sessions with teachers from three schools (Navesi Primary, Nabua Sanatan Primary and Draiba Primary school) in Fiji for the OLPC pilot poject. I met with 18 teachers on Wednesday evening and 16 teachers Thursday evening for an hour of familiarization session for 5 weeks - this included switching on the PC and OLPC XO laptop, opening a gmail account, getting to know the OLPC project and exploring the XO machine. Teachers came with mixed capabilities: on one end of the continuum you have one or two teachers who own a 3-G phone and comfortable with learning new tools in ICTs in general and on the other end those who had never operated a computer before and have a basic mobile phone though. This was followed by a one-week long training of teachers with the ICT consultant (an OLPC expert) on OLPC organised by School of Education at USP. Before the teacher began their training, it seems I was the most nervous and excited of all. I want to see this project work. I suppose, there is so much one can do in just 5 one hour sessions but I believe the familiarization session helped teachers participate in the one-week training session with confidence and pick up the training sessions with ease. One lot of group finished their training last week and the second group will begin next week Monday. On Friday, 31st August, all the teachers from the three schools will complete the training with a certificate - Looking forward to their graduation of these digital adapters!

I have my two star teachers: one is a young man who has no formal training in computer but shows tremendous promise and the another one is an older lady who had never touched a PC before and was very scared and nervous to "switch on" the PC on the very first day of the familiarization sessions, you should see her now - works with the PC and OLPC xo laptop as if its her tamed horse! 

My wish is to see the project become very successful and for this reason as long as I am in Fiji, I will stay involved with the project to contribute and learn about its developments!