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 Newsletter No.28 Jan. 2011

 Dear friends,

 We at Solar Serve would like to wish you a happy new year. All our wishes are expressed on our 2011 calendar which we will add at the end of this letter. You can print, fold and put it on your desk or hang it on your wall. We hope it will remind you of our work and your commitment to stand with us during the new year. Please let us know your needs, so we can stand behind you too.

New staff

433We came in contact with Quan, a young man who studied electronics. He is an engineer and was interested in our work. Now he is working fulltime in our office. He introduced us to Thuy Vy, a young woman who had experience in accounting. After being interviewed she was accepted and is now working in the office too. We are very happy with both of them. Also Vu, who worked for us before, was unhappy with his former job. We are also happy with him again.

Serious shortage

An article appeared in a national newspaper saying that Vietnam expects a severe energy shortage by the year 2013. The water levels of some power plants are very low. Drastic measures had to be taken in speeding up the construction of several new plants. Only if China or Laos are willing to help, energy demands can be met temporarily. If there is a delay in the construction of the plants dangerous shortages will occur. Only five of the 51 new plants are on track. Therefore finding new sources of green energy will be a new challenge.

Help for special school

In our last letter we wrote about a special school. We installed six hot water heaters on their roof. The staff told us again that the boilers were working well, even during overcast weather when they could be switched to local electricity. The school also made plans to install solar panels. They asked us for our assistance. A new challenge in 2011. We are happy to serve.

Visit of young people

5A group of young people from Hong Kong visited us. They came to explore Vietnam. It was great to see young people from different countries sharing their culture, language, food, music, dances and dramas. Climbing the Marble Mountains was almost a must. They could not only see the beach, sea, city and mountains from the top but also our center. They also could share their dreams, passions and visions with other young people and inspired them to do the same.

Huge market without roof

In Hanoi our staff wanted to visit Cho Troi, a famous and huge market without a roof. You can buy almost everything from the smallest goods like nails, batteries, and meters, to the largest as motors, electronics and refrigerators. We wanted to buy special magnets for our wind turbines. We finally found them and also a small generator. This will be very helpful for our research.

Connection with Liberia

Mambu and Anneke have been working in Liberia for many years. They installed many water pumps for people who are not able to access clean water. By doing so they saved hundreds of lives. They heard about our solar cooker project and ordered the same solar cooker we started with more than ten years ago. They want to help the local people in Liberia by using the solar cookers. A great challenge for them.

Installing equipment

We got involved with a Finnish company who installed heavy solar equipment in the mountains. The company held a seminar in Hanoi and invited our staff to join. It was well done and they learned a lot. They organized a practical application at a minority village near the mountains. Our staff admired the Finnish company because it was not easy to face a lot of restrictions. But the job was finished in time and now the locals are responsible to maintain the equipment.

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A remarkable woman

Our staff also wanted to meet Mrs. Dau. She is a remarkable woman who was once the translator of the former leader of Vietnam. She is almost 80 years old and helped us during our time in Phan Rang several years ago, setting up projects with minorities. She worked diligently and became a mother for our staff. It was good to meet her again in Hanoi and she decided to visit us again during the Christmas season in Danang. We had a great time with her and loved her company.

Not to give up

43Mr. Hung, one of our deaf workers is researching a new type of solar cooker by using the tubes of the water boilers. We found an example on the internet. Hung made several attempts but his highest temperature was 130 degrees, not enough for baking anything. But he knows that he should not give up and is trying again. The same can be said for our wind turbines, even after a storm caused the mill to collapse. That's the way it goes when you research.

Thief, thief, thief ...!

Two foreigners rushed into our quiet neighborhood. At first we thought they were chasing each other on their bikes. When they appeared in front of our center, we heard them shouting "Thief, thief, a thief !!!!!" They drove so fast that we had no time to do anything. Probably their bags had been sitting in front of their baskets and were stolen. The thieves moved fast and disappeared. We felt very sorry for them.

Unconditional love

We had a young deaf man working for us several years ago. He moved to another job but is still visiting us. Lately he changed his purpose of life. This was not appreciated by his friends. One night he was beaten up badly by them. Our deaf friend did not curse them. One week later, one of them got involved in a traffic accident and broke his collarbone and arm. But our deaf friend still showed 'unconditional' love and visited him in the hospital. We were very proud of him!

Christmas 2010

We had several celebrations. After sharing the reason for Christmas we had an exchanging game with our staff and friends. It was a lot of fun. A few days later Thuy Vy cooked a special meal for us. We all enjoyed it. Streets and churches were overcrowded on Christmas Eve. Bich found a farmer who raised turkeys. He followed a video on the internet in how to cook a turkey and on Christmas day most of us ate and enjoyed it for the first time.

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We are excited about the coming year. While the world's economy is shaking we keep our eyes on other things. We love to develop our work so that we can help others. It needs insight, favor, new ideas and especially wisdom how to go on. We would like to send you our news regularly. Please stay with us and be our friends even from afar.
That is all for now.
Greetings with lots of blessings for 2011
Solar Serve team

Called to Serve

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