Newsletter No.26 July 2010
World Cup 2010 people were
gathering at their homes, in the streets, cafes and restaurants, and
even in the parks. Sometimes they were yelling ‘VAOOOOO!!’ – “GOAL!!”
which echoes for seconds through the whole city. Vietnamese people love
to watch football and especially the World Cup. It didn’t matter what
time, but work could wait until the game was over. Many people stayed
up late and watched, chatted, ate and waited together. It was great!
But in Solar Serve we had different excitements which we would like to
share with you in this letter.
Solar Equipment display
This year we displayed
our work at a famous spot in Danang
during the World Environment Day 2010. Because of our 10th anniversary
we put an ad in one of the newspapers and decided to give away 10
parabolic cookers, one for each year. It was a success. Almost 500
visitors came. We displayed many parabolic and box cookers and also our
new solar water heater. Students of the University of Danang showed
their new invented solar equipment too. It was great!
One week before the
environment day we held a workshop.
Participants of this course came to cook on this day. Although the sun
broke through, clouds caused cooking to be slow. We
had rented an open tent which served as a meeting place. People wrote
their names down in order to win one of the ten parabols. A director of
an orphanage was very happy when he won one. We finished before
lunchtime and moved the last truckload around three o’clock. It was a
More interest in
After the environment day
we experienced lots of interest. A
business woman was very interested in
our solar panels and the director of the Department of Trade &
Industry wanted to co-operate with us in the field of saving energy. We
also had orders for our handmade parabolic cookers and even the new
solar water heaters became a success. After we installed one of them,
they were so satisfied that they ordered five more. Now we are also
providing different sizes to other customers.
We have changed the
rooftop of our kitchen and storage into
two balconies. Because of heavy storms we needed to replace our windows
too. Most of them are now made from wood and smaller. Also the tiles of
the roof have been fixed well. The new bedrooms on the third floor are
done. The walls of the living room will be built from wood in order to
avoid heavy weight of the stones. A small kitchen is under construction
and the stairway will be fixed with a wooden railing soon. All tiles
have been laid and painting has almost been done. It looks great!
We are very happy that we
can run a charity program and also
do business. For us those two go hand in hand. It is well known that
box cookers will always need support. In the last ten years we have
supported hundreds of families with those cookers. Support came always
through others. But we have been searching for alternatives so that
something else could support the charity programs. We are not yet at
this stage but there are some encouraging signs that customers are
willing to pay for solar equipment.
of our work
One of those encouraging
signs came through a contest in
Creative Science and Technology. We were rewarded with second prize,
this time from the local government in Danang. The mayor of the city
presented a plaque and a cash prize for our research and development of
solar equipment. We received it together in co-operation with the
Danang Polytechnic University. The whole event was televised and later
published in one of the local newspapers. This reward was not only an
encouragement for us, but also a wonderful recognition of our work
during the last ten years
Solar displays in other countries
We had several displays
of our Solar Serve work in other
countries. One of them was in Hong Kong during a gathering of NGO
workers and volunteers. We also had displays during other events
especially in Holland during their national day, and at a music
festival and a yearly fair & street market. Most of all it
promoted solar cooking to the local communities. But there was also
lots of interest and even caused generous people to sponsor our work.
Granting a work permit
Mr. Hans is the only
foreigner working for Solar Serve. He
received his visa through the University, but last year an extension
became very difficult. They encouraged him to apply for a work permit
visa. A long process started and lots of paperwork needed to be done.
Finally in March he received a three-year permit. But soon he found out
that this was not enough for staying in the country. After four weeks
of hard work he finally received a temporary residence card for one
New challenge for the future
In a few years time, the
center will no longer be seen from
the highway. It would be so great if we could open a showroom somewhere
near the center, alongside the highway. People can easily stop and have
a look at our solar equipment and also find their way to our Center.
Maybe this will be our next challenge after the opening of the third
floor, but till now we have not been given the green light. Maybe we
can tell you more in our next newsletter.
So for now, please stand with us. This means s/o much to us.
Solar Serve team
Called to Serve