Voices from the Field: Team Jaleel (Michael, Elaine, Hsinyo and Ciara)

On Wednesday night, our team had our opening night for our solar business. We were so excited to finally get our village’s business up and running after two weeks of building and preparing. When we arrived a couple hours before sunset, we had a few glitches to work out and quickly dealt with the issues with our entrepreneurs Mazara and Adam. Once all 69 batteries were charged we were ready to officially begin. So many people from the village came out and gathered around to receive their batteries and charge their phones.

It was during opening night that we truly realized the impact of our work. The loud cheering of the children as their mom switched one setting of brightness after another brought only more excitement. Walking around the village, we saw how much the new lanterns we provided really improved their lives. Those using their old lanterns and flashlights did not shine as bright as the ones we have provided. It was also less convenient to use as it usually required another person to hold the light.

As more people came to rent batteries, one by one, each compound became lit and vibrant. Sounds from afar in the serene village night were the women pounding fufu and the cracking sound from the fires in the lighted compound. Even though we had a rough start, the overall opening night was very successful. Our team was able to work with our entrepreneurs and quickly fix the problem. As a result, 18 people came out of 23 compounds and 5 people got their phones charged. Our team is so happy to have been able to bring this important resource to the village.