Newsletter No.39 Jan. 2014
First of all Happy New Year.
We hope it will be a great year. Don’t give up doing good and expecting
hard situations to change into wonderful opportunities. Enjoy and love
your work so that you never have ‘to work’ again! But if you want to
work with us, don’t dream about the weather. Lately, it has been very
cold in Danang and even in the northern provinces of Vietnam. Some
mountains near Sapa were covered with snow. Unthinkable but everything
is possible in Vietnam, so welcome to our world!
Typhoons, floods and landslides
The devastating storm of
the Philippines also moved straight to Danang, but in a miraculous way
it turned to a different direction. The city really escaped from a
disaster, although weeks before another typhoon caused hundreds of
trees to fall down as we had never seen before. Not long after, the
middle of Vietnam was hit by heavy rainfall. A dam in the mountains was
accidently opened, therefore many villages were flooded in three meter
deep water. It left blankets of mud everywhere. People were desperate.
The social entrepreneur club in Danang decided to do their part and
through donations they helped the elderly with rice, and children with
Award in Nairobi
Almost 500 social
entrepreneurs from 85 countries participated in an international
competition organized by SEED, which supports small scale entrepreneurs
who integrate social and environmental benefits into their business
models. It was founded by UNEP, UNDP and IUCN in 2002. Solar Serve was
nominated and later chosen as one of the Low Carbon Awards winners. Our
director Nguyen Tan Bich had to travel to Kenya in order to receive
this reward. It was a great honor for him and we as Solar Serve were
very excited for this recognition.
Australia - Here we come!
Another event took place
in Canberra, the capital of Australia. During a gathering of national
leaders of mercy projects, Bich and Hans were invited to show their
Solar Serve work. They shipped two parabolic cookers for display but
the cookers arrived too late. With one clean cooker and lots of good
will and help, they were able to make it special and met many
interesting people like a couple who travelled around in a converted
bus with lots of environmentally friendly equipment. Amazing! They also
had a wonderful time with some friends in a nearby town. It was like
heaven on earth!
Caramel Cookie Waffles for Vietnam
A workgroup in Holland is
very active in supporting our projects. A few months ago they decided
to sell the original Dutch caramel cookie waffles (stroopwafels). They
are very popular and lots of people made an order. The group did a lot
of work to make it known. They put boxes everywhere in order for people
to fill in forms and to deposit their donation. After a few weeks they
collected all the orders, and together they distributed the waffles
street by street. Everywhere they met smiling faces and comments
afterwards how delicious they were. A great way to support a project.
Flower Arrangements for support
Don’t think that the
whole world is supporting us, but sometimes there are precious people
who really want to help us with their skills. For example, a friend
asked a nursing home for elderly people if she could have a stand for
making and selling flower arrangements. She made posters and put them
on the walls. After she decorated the hallway beautifully, the director
complimented her. It was just before Christmas so her flower
arrangements were easily sold. Even a Vietnamese woman was enthusiastic
when she bought the last dragonflies. Great to have friends like her.
Get involved – New plan for 2014
In October last year we
were inspired by some words of a man who worked in South Africa. He
talked about multiplication. We took it serious and made a plan for
2014. Right after the Vietnamese New Year’s holidays (in February) we
will begin to make 7000 clean cooking stoves and 500 parabolic cookers
for families with a low income in poor areas. Although we have never
asked for donation, we came up with a plan for people, companies,
schools, churches or organizations to be personally involved. Now they
can sponsor one or more families with one of the cookers. We will
choose the families and deliver the cooker(s). A certificate with the
name of the sponsor will be given to the family and a picture will be
taken for the sponsor. We will send you more details soon.
Our plan requires a lot
of preparation. We still have time till the middle of February. We need
more workers and lots of space to work and store. Last month all Solar
Serve workers came together and decided which clean stove should be
made. Some changes were made and the final model was chosen. It
included also a cover which needed to be made with a special mold.
Instead of buying expensive equipment, we found a company in Danang.
They are able to make the mold and will manufacture the covers for us.
This will save us a lot of time.
Christmas in Solar Serve
Although Christmas is not
an official holiday in Vietnam we gave all workers a day off, after we
had some exciting celebrations. Christmas is not real if we do not
understand the meaning. So we explained it first to our workers,
followed by an exchange game, where others could take away your gift.
The day before Christmas we had a wonderful lunch, prepared by Tho and
her sister Mai and before we all left for home, everyone received a
Christmas box with all kinds of goodies. On New Year ’s Day we had a
day off. Vietnamese New Year’s celebrations will start on Jan.31st.
Pizza in parabol
Someone in Japan had
bought a parabolic cooker from us last year. He loved it so much that
he made a video and posted it on Youtube.
He was able to boil water
fast and to bake a pizza. The man wrote: ‘This is my parabolic solar
cooker. It has a 1.3 meter radius and a 25 to 30 centimeter focal
point. My test showed that on a clear day in the middle of January in
southern Japan this parabolic solar cooker will boil water in about 5
minutes and cook delicious crunchy pizza in about 7 to 10 minutes. I am
very happy with the first tests’. Great to watch a video
We did an ability test
with our staff. It helped them to understand if they were doing the
right things. For example, if you do not like to organize, it can be
very frustrating when you have to be a manager, while someone else with
the ability can do it with great pleasure. The test was not an
extensive test with hundreds of questions. We used only 31 selected
questions. It was very nice to see the outcome. Most of our staff were
confirmed in what they were doing. Now they can be honest about their
abilities and do not have to feel guilty when they say ‘no’.
our accountant came back from Hanoi. He presented our work at a GreenID
with approximately 400 participants.
• Vu came back to work
with us after six weeks absence. He helped his father, who grows spe-
cial plants in preparation for the Vietnamese New Year. Some other
workers will return too af-
ter the Vietnamese holidays.
is our new worker. He was a former construction worker and now works
full time for