Newsletter No.17 Jan. 2008
look back at 2007 we must say that
through difficulties something beautiful came out. Nine months ago we
were told to close down our factory in Tam Ky. We could never imagine
that now, at the beginning of 2008, we are building our own new factory
near the most famous tourist spot of Danang. Maybe in 2007 you also had
difficulties, but we want to encourage you to never give up your dreams
and hopes. Everything is possible and to work under the Sun is full of
surprises. Remember we are not working with material but with precious
people who we love and who we want to serve. You are also not a ‘name’
but a wonderful solar ‘friend’. Please think like this and keep in
touch during 2008. Happy New Year!
What have we been doing?
rainy season we have been building many new box solar cookers in Binh
Son (100 km south of Danang). We changed the shape of the cookers a
little bit so that we could stack them better for storage. We have also
been asked to make the parabolic cooker smaller.
Mr Tuan, who also made
the clock for the kitchen parabolic cooker, designed a new parabolic
cooker in four parts at our workshop in Danang. He used the mold of our
present parabolic cooker (1.30m) and divided it in four parts. It took
him some time, but he came up with the cooker you see in the pictures.
He used some cheap reflecting material for this first trial. Some other
workers designed a foldable stand and together the result was almost
similar to the normal parabolic cookers. We were very happy that this
new parabolic cooker was working well. Now we must learn how to make
the four part parabolic cooker faster. It will be a good model for
export and also easy for local transport.
The preparation and construction of the factory
At the beginning of
November last year four Solar Serve
workers built a shelter and storehouse near our land. Mr Vinh was asked
to be the caretaker. We started to build on November 12th. The first
few days were very difficult. Storm and heavy rainfall caused lots of
problems in Danang and many roads were blocked for transport.
But the workers were not disappointed
and after a few days the weather changed. Electricity was connected and
a well for fresh water was made. Twenty-five holes (1.9 m deep) were
dug and lots of bricks, cement and iron were used for connecting the
foundations in the holes. Everyday we were amazed how things came
together. Finally on December 5th the whole foundation was finished. It
was a real accomplishment for all the workers. Very soon the walls and
pillars were built and on December 26th the second floor was
the moment we are building the walls for the rooms on the second floor.
We hope in our next letter we are able to tell you more of the final
stage (roof and final touch). We hope to finish the main construction
in six months, which will be at the end of May. It would be wonderful
if we can open the building in June when everything is focused on the
Environment with a special day on June 5th. But feel free to
come before the opening. We have already welcomed several
solar friends from the USA, Canada, Switzerland, Ireland, England,
Holland, Thailand and Vietnam to see the construction site
Enough for each day
Sometimes people asked us
how we can pay for all the
construction. First of all we do not ask people for donations. We
believe that we should give enough information about what we are doing
and leave it to the individual. Sometimes this is a little bit scary.
You start something without having anything. But amazingly we have
received so much support. Among the supporters were friends and unknown
people, and individuals like a handicapped person, a former drug
addict, an embassy worker, a single mother, an older couple who gave
their anniversary gift, leaders from an organization, a church, support
of a fair and second hand sale, a sponsor walk, dozens of companies,
poor, rich and also children.
When we received their
could use it right away for cement, bricks, iron, sand, stones, salary
for the workers, housing of the caretaker, electric wiring, water
pipes, etc. To make it clear: ‘For each day we have enough’ but ‘For
the next day we have to see the impossible become possible’. The result
is what you can see in the pictures. We are so thankful.
• Since we bought the
piece of land in August 2007 the value
of the land has increased three times. Is that not amazing? We really
felt that we bought the land at the right time. · We also felt that we
should not only focus on our own needs but also help others with
similar needs as us.
• A reporter of a TV station is making
a documentary of our project for a competition. She has been
interviewing people who are using the cookers and made detailed shots
of the cookers and our work. It took her several months to put it all
• We have been putting 3 video clips
of our project on YouTube. Search for: “Cooking with the Sun in Vietnam
(1, 2 or 3)” Click
The first clip had already 300 viewers in two weeks
• UNESCO Vietnam bought two solar
cookers from us. They want to introduce our work in South Vietnam.
• We have two new workers.
Mister Kiet has been a truck driver, but now he is building box solar
cookers and is driving our truck. Mister Vu is our new deaf worker in
Danang and is learning to build parabolic cookers. He is doing well and
works together with two other deaf (Cuong and Hoa). Mr Tuan is teaching
them and is responsible for the workshop.
• With people leaving and coming we
have around 14 workers today. We are helping them to become trainees to
others, especially for the new factory workers.
• We are very happy with our
contractor. He gives us good advice in buying the ‘right’ material. One
week ago we found out how important a contractor is, when a building
near our new factory collapsed because of poor construction and
• We created a guest book on our
website. Please feel free to write any comments. It will encourage
people to use or make solar cookers: Click
We also found a Vietnamese TV video clip of our work: Click
Please let us know when you find anything else on the
internet about us. All languages are welcome. We would like to add
those links to our website.
This is all the news we have for now.
Again, thanks a lot for your friendship.
Warm greetings from Danang,
Solar Serve team
Called to Serve