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  • Writer's pictureKristin P

Cheeba Implementation: Day 4

Another day in paradise! We’ve been staying at the Namalundu Guest House, about 45 minutes from Cheeba. There are rolling hills all around us. We are near the end of the dry season so the ground and trees have lost their regular verdant color. Sometimes we even see baboons! The air sometimes has a smoky haze, as many farmers burn their fields in preparation for harvest. We are spread across three rooms at the guest house, the largest sleeps five of us. We are getting used to sleeping under mosquito nests and sharing two bathrooms. We have electricity, some internet, and authentic Zambian cooking every morning and night.

The main ingredient in the food is maize. Nshima is a ball of ground maize mixed with water that you mold and then use to pick up the rest of your food, referred to as relish. Relish can include sauce made of tomatoes and onions. It also includes the meat, which can be chicken or fish. The fish is usually kapenta and you eat it whole. Sometimes there are boiled potatoes and rice along with the nshima and relish. For breakfast, typically we have hard boiled eggs, toast, and sometimes fruit. One day we had soaked maize that you mixed with fermented milk and sugar to make a concoction with similar consistency to oatmeal.

In Cheeba, Sun Ray continued installing equipment on the kiosk today. They began mounting the solar panels on the roof of the kiosk. The kiosk uses nine large 320 watt solar panels, together capable of producing nearly three kilowatts of power! Most homes in the U.S. regularly use more than this, but it is more than enough to power the freezers, sewing machines, cell phones, hair clippers, and lights in the kiosk. It’s enough energy for change.

Jeremiah, Henry, and Fikani travelled to Kafue for additional supplies. Kafue is about an hour away, and is the closest large city (it even has a shopping mall!). We spent most of the day visiting hardware stores for materials to construct an antenna to boost the cellular reception of the Data Acquisition System (DAS). We install a DAS at all of our energy kiosks. The DAS is continuously measuring the voltage, current, temperature, sunlight, and other important quantities in and around the kiosk. Every few minutes, it transmits the data to the cloud where our team can view it from anywhere in the world. It helps us monitor the system and know how it is doing. For example, we can use the data to know if we can add more freezers. We also use the data to help us design future energy kiosks. KWH volunteer engineers and students from Seattle University work to design the DAS. When we do have downtime, football (soccer) is the name of the game. We never have trouble finding people to play with us!

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