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Cal Energy Corps students research and implement alongside blueEnergy

By Casey Callais -- blueEnergy was privileged to have three students from the UC Berkeley's Cal Energy Corps working with blueEnergy for nine weeks this summer.

Johnathan Lee, Casey Finnerty and Mauricio Castillo spent their time researching, teaching, building and installing alongside blueEnergy volunteers and staff. They kept journals of their experiences, which are well worth a read:
Overall, I have really enjoyed getting the practical experience of actually building and installing solar systems, and I am looking forward to doing a larger system on Rama Cay. The experience of planning and budgeting a project has also been very valuable and interesting, and I feel like the entire experience is complementing the more theoretical education I received at Berkeley. On top of all of that, it has been a fantastic cultural experience living in Bluefields and learning about how they use energy here, what energy development means to the communities, and what kind of impact energy development can have on their lives.
Read more about how Johnathan Lee installs, teaches and builds databases with bE energy team.
blueEnergy’s approach to implementation is based on “participatory methodologies to understand the needs, desires, and capabilities of the beneficiary communities.” An excellent example of this approach is their current water filtration project. Roughly 75% of the population along the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua does not have adequate access to clean water. In response, blueEnergy has undertaken many projects to promote healthy living practices and make clean water more accessible. To help ensure the sustainability of this project, blueEnergy has the beneficiaries attend workshops on the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene. blueEnergy also helps community members construct their own filters and perform follow-up visits to all participating families.
Casey Finnerty talks more about his experiences working with the water and sanitation team
 After interviewing several potential beneficiaries I have chosen to build a stove for a family of 5 nearby the blueEnergy office. This family cooks solely with wood, which they collect themselves from a nearby forest that is a 30 minutes away. The mother cooks in an enclosed space on a traditional cook stove which consists of the pot being placed over three stones with the firewood placed underneath. These traditional cook stoves require a lot of wood because the heat generated is not concentrated and escapes around the sides of the pot. The mother expressed concern about the smoke inhalation because her young children are always nearby and often times there is enough smoke produced to cause discomfort while she is cooking.The stove will heat two pots at once, though there will be reduced smoke emissions, l will also construct a chimney to channel smoke up and out of the kitchen. I have enjoyed the design and building process and look forward to seeing my project come to fruition.
Check out Mauricio Castillo's time working on building a more efficient cookstove

Johnathon Lee Shows how to wire a solar panel in Rocky Point
To learn how you can be like Johnathon, Casey, and Mauricio and make a difference in the lives of those living along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, check out blueEnergy's Service Learning Internship Program.

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