The group began their morning at INATEC, the Nicaraguan technical school in Bluefields where blueEnergy houses its workshop and technical systems. The head of bE’s technical team, Pedro Neves, gave an overview of the energy team’s solar dryer and solar panel projects. He recognized the vast amount of knowledge and skills communities have developed to function, and the difficulties brought about when outsiders try to impose their customs or ideas. “What I’ve learned is that in the end, the best solution is the one you get by the community,” Pedro says. “The community people have so much knowledge already. If you add a little bit of knowledge from the modern world, they come up with the rest and you have the solution.”
|Pedro Neves explaining the solar dryer|
Such is the case with solar dryers, an idea that originated through communities who dry their food to preserve it, but face troubles related to insects and unpredictable rain. Hortencia Hernandez, vice president of the Rama Key Organization of Women, emphasized how important it is to for the women in her community to dry their shrimp and what a blessing it would be to have the solar dryers that would eliminate those problems. She also expressed her joy at attending the course, “This is the first time I’ve been to a place where they show you how they mechanically do the environmentally friendly stuff. It’s a pleasure for me to come here and see what systems you have and contribute to the changing of climate situation.”
Pedro’s presentation was followed up with comments from blueEnergy Nicaragua Director, Guillaume Craig, who said, “We work together. That’s the idea. Most people can’t pay $100 or more for their system, so they come and they contribute [to the building].” This was acknowledged by a community leader from San Vincente, John Sambola, who later commented, “[What we are learning]…It’s very important. All you have to do is let the people work together.”
|Jorge explaining the water filters|
Local blueEnergy technician Jorge Perez along with French engineer, Thibaut Demaegdt, presented the water and sanitation team’s projects of wells, water filters and solar latrines. After visiting a beneficiary home where a well was installed this year, the group was off to their next place of learning. In the future, blueEnergy hopes to continue working with FADCANIC, URACCAN and other local organizations to facilitate similar exchanges of knowledge.