Sometimes it is very easy to loose credibility, ONG’s are weird. You never know what is behind. We followed the traces in a long journey of a project that was of our interest. Barefoot College seemed to be quiet exiting, they arrived to install, apparently, a water desalinisation system in a remote and desertic place in India. This college was introduce via bricolabs list, with a TED video, an interesting and convincing talk by Bunker Roy.
In Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men — many of them illiterate — to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It’s called the Barefoot College, and its founder, Bunker Roy, explains how it works.
Then we learned about Olga, a woman from El Morro, Ciénaga Grande, that was invited to learn leathership and do it yourself solar panels technologies. She spoke to us about her experience. Knowing that it is not possible to juge that quickly from only one experience, Olga opened to us lots of questions about how ONG’s and gouvernamental arrangements builded their own imaginary cities and places to justify their empty actions that looks very good on videos and photos.
At the begining of January 2012, following the traces after a link sent to bricolabs list (http://opengreens.net/category/politicsofchange/barefootcollege) , I decided to go visiting a place in Ciénaga Grande : El Morro, in Colombia with some friends.
Researching and following what we could about this Barefoot College experience, our questions where basically : Do it work as a method in all situations? Did it work for El Morro? Is there some knodlege or technological implementation, as solar panels or something, that was keeped by Olga and her community? What kind of materials are used for building the pannels? Is an explensive technology? How long it can be operative in those a particular humid climate condition? How the batteries are?
But it seems every material and component is imported from India, must be imported. From India to Colombia! Crazy.
Visiting Olga we have learned about her experience. Perhaps there are other experiences that are radically different. But the questions keeps opened.
Olga readed us her diary, written in vers, in spanish. Take the time to hear what her experience was on this video recorded document.
At the end she showed us her album and explained to us how she builded solar lamps during almost a year but those lamps are not that useful for her community in Colombia, all the components are really from an Indian Kit, it was an assembling work. So there was not a “do it yourself lerning” to become “selfsuficient” , it was most like a bussinnes in between the colombian gouverment and the indian solar kit lamps enterprise. (This has to be confirmed, we whould like to corroborate all what we have learn in la Ciénaga). There was a detail that took my attention. All the woman where dressed and pushed to “act” during the photographes and journalist visits.
I am still wondering and dreaming about a desalinisation plant for salt water. This can solve lot of problems in some caribean and pacific villages in Colombia. As well all alternatives for clean energy systems such as solar pannels and heolic energies.
This is her album photo. It looks great, fantastic.
That is the power of images. Maybe.
Even Dalai Lama was there. In this photo there is Olga on the corner, and Dalai Lama walkin in the room.
It really looks like an unforggetable experience. But as Olga told us, she worked hard everyday assembling solar individual lamps.
Non of them had arrived to el Morro. Women work everyday assembling electronic kits basically.
We where Juliana de MapaOrganizmo, el flaco (amigo de Carmen), Carmen Pacheco (de mariamulata), Natalia and me.
She was very generous reading us her personal diary written in verse. Some of it is documented in the video.
Here some pictures of her notebook and the Barefoot manual for assembling. It looks very nice and with all the information. Still, for people in El Morro it is impossible to do, there are no composants or tools.
All the same, I think it must be a great experience to Olga despite her complaints, she learn about other women life and cultures. She was attonish about the conception or self perception of the body, the skin, how it was improper to be with fresh clothes and show the skin. Interesting to hear her appreciations, from her culture and perspective.
The most urgent situation for el Morro is water. But they are rely to electricity. Solving the problem with water is what the need.
Electrical autonomy it will be great too, but it is not the first priority.
Pescado secándose al sol.
I found this other video, it illustrate more …
MAMAS SOLARES: Son las mujeres mejores que los hombres en salir de la pobreza?
Rafea es la segunda esposa de un beduino. Ella es seleccionada para atender el Barefoot College en India, que invita a mujeres de mediana edad, provenientes de comunidades pobres de todas partes del mundo y que no han recibido educación, para entrenarlas en cómo convertirse en ingenieras solares. Aprender sobre componentes eléctricos y soldaduras sin siquiera saber leer, escribir y, mucho menos inglés, parece ser la parte más fácil del reto que Rafea enfrenta. Sus heroicos esfuerzos están dirigidos a sacar a su familia de la pobreza.
Directores Mona Eldaief & Jehane Noujaim
Productor Mette Heide
Producido por Plus Pictures