Filibaba Assessment – Day 4+5
With our work in Filibaba concluded for the trip, we headed towards Lusaka to meet with potential vendors for the solar system installation. We were on the road at 7AM for the 430 km (270 mi) drive south; undeterred by aggressive potholes, frequent police checkpoints, rush hour traffic, and unmarked roads, we arrived at our hotel in Lusaka at 1:30 PM. Earlier this week, Steve had met Muse – the only female taxi driver in Lusaka – and arranged for her to take us to our only meeting of the day. As we were all exhausted from the long drive, after the meeting (and a quick dip in the rooftop pool of the Protea Hotel), we called it an early night.
The program for Friday involved meeting with four separate vendors. Muse drove us around for the whole day and even joined us for lunch at Levy Junction – Lusaka’s finest mall. The vendors ranged from small companies who specialize in home solar projects to larger, industrial and agricultural suppliers. Everyone we met with was interested in the project and keen to be involved; they indicated that the scope of the project was feasible, that they will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the system,and that they would be excited to have KWH members present for the installation. We will send Requests for Proposals to our preferred vendors upon returning to Seattle, and will have a number of good options to choose from for the solar kiosk installation.
We wrapped up the day having dinner with Phil and Olive, two of Steve’s friends from Lusaka. They took us to Shaka, a local Zambian restaurant, where we feasted on a massive spread of traditional cuisine such as impala stew (meat + offal), kapenta (bite-sized smoked fish), quail, fried bream, and of course nshima. The food was all delicious and Phil and Olive were great company. It was a fine end to a busy week in Zambia. On Saturday we will have time for a quick stop at the Kabwata Village (a local market) and will return to Seattle.