Tuesday, May 29, 2012

First pictures from Daniel and Diane!

I have just received a preview of some of the pictures from Daniel and Diane's time in the village.  They are currently in Ecuador and were very thoughtful to send the pictures while staying in a tent!  Stay tuned for their full report in the coming weeks.

Daniel and Diane's first pictures from La Libertad

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Riley School and Solar Power

Presentation at Riley School
Last Monday, May 21, I gave a presentation to about 40 students and teachers at Riley School, in Rockport, Maine.

This was my second school presentation.  The weather for the day was perfect, about 70 degrees and sunny.
Once again the students mostly enjoyed seeing and hearing about the animals and pets of the village, and the daily lives of the children.  Of special interest were the chickens in the pueblo of La Libertad, which a few of the Riley students also raise at their homes here in Maine.  After the presentation the students spent a good amount of time looking at the village's handcrafts, asking questions, and examining the blowgun.  Thank you to Nohora Estes and Riley School for hosting the event!

Electrical Power in the Jungle
Current Problems:
  • The diesel generator is expensive to fuel and produces air and noise pollution.
  • The diesel generator in the village operates only 2-3 hours in the early evening.
  • The power generated is of questionable tolerance levels.
  • The electricity is connected in a very limited area central to the school and community buildings.
  • At times the generator does not function.
  • There are limited opportunities to charge batteries (for cell phones, LED lights, UV water purification, laptop computers, and cell phone (and data) signal amplifiers.

A Solar Solution:
I have been trying to put together a low-cost off-grid solar power system for La Libertad.  So far I have a 68 watt solar panel that is a flexible laminate.  I am able to take it in checked baggage and then adhere it to a reinforced aluminum panel when I am in Leticia.  This system will include a voltage regulator, power inverted, wires, and various adapters.  So far the price is at a little under $350, but this does not include the price of the battery.  The system has worked during preliminary testing, but a much more rigorous test is needed to determine load values and charge rates under various conditions.

Problems with the solution:

  • Deep cycle batteries are priced at about $80 to $400, depending on size and quality, in the USA.  In Colombia I expect the price to be double, and if they are found in Leticia I have no idea of the cost (and I would be afraid to ask).  These batteries may not be transported on a plane.
  • Transporting the system has the danger of damage to the components.
  • The electrical connections and operation may be more difficult in the jungle.
More to come on the solar options in the following months!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Presentations, Daniel and Diane, Clean Cookstoves

Much has been happening lately. 


The presentations where a success!  Last Monday about 60 elementary and middle school students at the South Bristol School in Maine enjoyed learning about the village.  They asked many excellent questions ranging from what food do the villagers eat to if I have ever been bitten by a piranha.  The younger kids especially liked the pictures of the pets and other animals, to which they responded to with many “oos” and “ahs”.
The following day 16 people (ranging in age from 13 to 80) listened to the presentation at the Camden Public Library.  Many good questions were asked and suggestions given.  I am planning three more area library presentations in Belfast, Union, and hopefully Thomaston during the coming month.

Daniel and Diane

Daniel and Diane have returned home to Spain after spending a month in La Libertad.  I am waiting impatiently for their report and pictures, which I expect to be spectacular.  More on this soon.

Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

Unfortunately the Alliance did not have the opportunity to visit the village.  However, I did have a very nice long talk with Sjors and Samantha, who were in Bogota exploring options for expanding their organization’s presence in Colombia.  They had visited other locations closer to the capitol, meet with industry leaders and conservation groups in order to get a better idea of how food is being cooked now, the health and economics concerns, and possible design and production strategies that may work in Colombia.  They are mentioning the Amazon Pueblo project in their report, as well as giving us other connections that should help us in the completion of our mission.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Amazon Pueblo presentation May 14 & 15!

My second and third presentations are happening next week.  The first, on Monday, will be at South Bristol Elementary School.  Grades K-4 will be listening and questioning in the first group, and grades 5-8 in the second group.  This is the first time I will be presenting to a younger audience, so it could be interesting!  I believe I will have to explain a lot of basics about the project in an interesting and active way.

The next night, at 6:30, I will be presenting at the Camden Public Library.  Since my presentation in April at the Rockland Public Library much has happened with the project.  I now have I better idea of the model we are following, volunteer based service, and also where we would like to go.  Additionally the website revisions are almost finished.  If you haven't seen the site in a while, check it out (www.amazonpueblo.org)!