23 November 2019
Wednesday...prices and final preparations for lights installation
We started our day with a bit of shopping and pricing of component parts of a possible 'fix' for the Albreda solar installation.
Our first port of call was Inco, the wonderful new tools shop we found last year. Andy bought a couple of hammers, plus nails, cable ties and screw-in hooks for our upcountry trip to install the first batch of individually solar powered lights in village homes.
Next to a shop that sells everything connected with solar power (sorry, no pun intended!). This had been Andy's favourite port of call during his previous visit and he had formed a very good relationship with the Indian owner. To summarise the rather lengthy discussion...the eight replacement batteries ( good but not quite of the standard of the originals) would cost us £800 and the additional electronics needed to make it fail-safe another £300-400. The owner of the shop was willing to let us take two batteries to test the existing installation...and even to return our money should we find they were not needed....very kind of him. We said we would think about it and come back if we decided to go ahead with the testing.
Back to the hotel, where Andy, Wandifa, Yankuba and I spent the rest of the day making the 'solar leads' for the lights. We had decided that a 4 metre length of cable would be enough for each light to be positioned in a suitable 'homework area's within a student's house...so more than 60 lengths of lightweight twin cable were measured, cut, soldered onto the small solar panels and then wound back onto the now empty cable drums for transporting the following day.
In the meantime Abdoulie had gone down to see Mbye to help with the strip-down and inspection of the engine of the newly acquired minibus...he is taking his new responsibilities very seriously. He and Mbye are delighted with the condition of the engine, so it seems that the purchase may have been a really good one...my fingers are still crossed!! A welder man will have to be visited to make a roof rack and we may see if we can find a couple of removable seats to fit sideways in the large space behind the present back row...the minibus currently seats nine so it might be handy to have the capability of carrying a couple more passengers from time to time.
An early supper and bedtime...we start at 6.30am tomorrow and we have to load the van first...