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Newsletter No.29 Apr. 2011
last few months it has been cold in
Danang. In February during the Vietnamese new year it was so cold that
many people tried to grow their flowers, trees and plants into plastic
bags like small green houses. Only a few weeks ago the weather began to
change. Spring and summer is in the air and we as Solar Serve are
making preparations for a new season. So let us tell you a little bit
about what we did and what we are planning to do.
Dr Hung of the Danang
University has been our mentor for the
last 10 years. Recently he moved to the University of Dong Hoi (250 km
north of Danang). It was good to work together with him all those
years. Often he gave us advice and provided permits for us to work at
the countryside. Now we are able to carry our projects and enterprise
more independently. Our contract with him and the University of Danang
will be finished, but we as Solar Serve are very thankful for all their
support over the past ten years.
New cooker for picnics
a special parabolic cooker from a Korean friend. He designed an
umbrella which can be used for cooking and also as a parasol. It comes
in a small box and weighs only 5 kilos. It is easy to transport. The
upside down umbrella sits on a four legged standard which we changed
into a foldable tripod. It can only be used away from the wind and
needs extra care for children, but it is a good alternative especially
for picnics. We will try to improve the stability and use of the cooker
We made a
new parabolic cooker that concentrates sunlight onto two vacuum tubes.
Heat is transferred through the tubes to a closed pot for cooking. We
are still working on it. We also made another type of cooker that
protects people against direct sunlight. It can also be used as a food
stall to serve people. Our staff tried to improve a small wind turbine.
Electricity can be stored in batteries, but to make it profitable
depends on where and how you place the turbine
for poor families
We received from a friend
in Hanoi six large boxes with 60
containers. We filled the containers with lots of candies, cookies,
seeds and different kinds of nuts for the new years celebrations. After
that we contacted the leader of our area where the center is located.
He called two members of the local committee and they distributed the
containers to poor families. It was a small gesture but well received
and a good start for the new year.
biking, selling, walking and running
We received a letter from
a Dutch youth group. They wanted to
sponsor our work. A few weeks ago they cooked a five course dinner for
220 people. It was a huge success. People had to pay for it and some
businessmen helped them to make it profitable. They will also organize
a bicycle tour from Paris to Holland this summer. Not only the youth
group but also others are active in helping us though walking, running,
selling flowers and bazaars and other events
Wedding Vu and Oanh
Vu has been a very
diligent worker for the last three years.
He is now very skillful in welding and building the parabolic frames.
He fell in love with a beautiful girl working at a restaurant for deaf
people. On March 28 they decided to get married and invited all Solar
Serve staff for their wedding. Many other guests were also invited for
dinner. It is always great when two young people get married and
especially when they are deaf. It's a real commitment!
Since we started our
enterprise we had a desire to make our
products more known to the public. Our center will soon be surrounded
by other buildings and we would not be visible from the main road
anymore. We are in the process of finding other options. One year ago
we shared this with some of our Solar Serve friends and they responded
with excitement. For us it is important to take the right decision at
the right moment.
In the ancient town of
Hoi An, Hans and Linh are owners of a
restaurant called The Lighthouse. They came to our center and wanted to
know if our solar cookers could be used in their cooking programs. Very
soon they will move their restaurant to another location in Hoi An.
They want to make it more environmentally friendly with solar panels,
water boilers and maybe our solar cookers. Great idea! A green
restaurant will attract lots of customers.
Earthen pots are easy to
use for lamps. Some of them have
holes at the side which give nice effects when you put a candle in it.
Now we are trying to get the same effects with solar lights. We turned
a pot upside down and attached a small solar collector (which you can
use for garden lights) on it. It's a great idea but until now the
capacity is not enough, so we are wondering if you have any
suggestions? Please let us know.
Still at risk
According to a newspaper
North Vietnam suffered two strong
earthquakes in 1893 and 1935 measured 6.8 and 6.75. In the South, the
most intense quake was 6.1 in 1923. The northern region is the most
prone to quakes because of the Red River fault that runs from China
through to the East Sea. No tsunami has ever been documented in
Vietnam, but scientists have identified nine areas in the East Sea that
might cause tsunamis. Vietnam is mostly hit by typhoons, floods, and
landslides. In 1945 two million people died in the north of a famine.
Helping in Nghe An
We are not only making
solar cookers, doing projects and
developing a business, but we are also involved in serving others. A
Finnish company asked us to assist them in their solar and
communication projects. During their absence we have to check up to see
if there is any progress made. Most of the locations are in very poor
areas in the mountains. We are also asked by another foreign company to
help them with paperwork. Importing solar equipment is not always easy.
Through these experiences we learn a lot.
Inspired with hope
Two of our staff were
invited to join a three-day gathering
in Saigon organized for many volunteer workers in Vietnam. It was well
prepared. The guest speaker gave lots of encouragements, ideas and
hope. They also learned about their neighboring country Laos. It is the
most heavily bombed country in history. After 40 years many cluster
bombs are still hidden in the forests, rice fields, villages, school
grounds, roads, and other populated areas. Tens of thousands of people
have been killed or injured. Laos is a land in need and some volunteers
were inspired to help.
We have been in contact
with people in the South. They want
to explore solar cooking as an alternative attraction for tourists.
This is a great idea and we are excited that people are taking such new
initiatives. So feel free to send your input, new ideas, information or
new inventions that will help us. Let us do it together!
Solar Serve team
Called to Serve