I began mounting and wiring up the solar components including the combiner box, the DC disconnect box, the charge controller, and the 600 watt 24V DC to 230V AC inverter on a plywood panel in the office storage closet. Our electrician , Edwin, started drilling holes in the ceiling and through the block walls for running conduit and wire to light switches and ceiling lights. It’s so muggy today I’m glad it’s not me climbing around the rafters. As Edwin is drilling I notice he’s using a 110V drill I brought from the US plugged directly into the cord coming from the generator…which is 230V. Oops!
The shipment of solar panels and batteries is supposed to show up in Monrovia this week. We’ll see. Along with that is 16 boxes of various school supplies. Some of the boxes have food for me to use this trip too so I’m anxious to get them soon so I don’t have to buy more expensive canned foods in Monrovia.
Most days around 5:00 when I’m sitting in the screened porch catching my breath from the day, a gathering of about five boys joins me. Sometimes they borrow my frisbee, but more often they share drawings they’ve made and ask questions. Sometimes questions about America. Sometimes questions about my family. The last few days have been questions about science. How does hydroelectric power work? What makes planes fly? How do submarines work? How do solar panels make electricity? Through a series of sketches, descriptions, and paper airplanes I attempt to explain to boys who haul water on their heads and sleep in mud block homes with illiterate parents about aerodynamic lift, magnets and coils in turbines, and arrays of silicon wafers. They also wanted to know if I hit an animal with my car in America, what happens to the animal? They laughed when I told them I would call the police for help because in Liberia, you throw the animal in the trunk of your car and drive away happy that you now have meat to eat…doesn’t matter what kind of animal, it all tastes “sweet”!
I’m getting a little overwhelmed with compliments this trip. After an explanation about hydro dams, one of the 15 year old science boys said, “I like the way you talk to children. Most white people don’t want to be around us.” These kids are craving adult love and attention – no matter what color.