Solar Panel Installation (2013)

Since its completion in 2011, the Kalala Muzeu Health Clinic has undergone many changes and improvements.  In order to make the clinic a highly-functioning institution, electricity was a must.  In 2010, Allen Rainey, the founder of SonLight Power, attended Leja Bulela's annual meeting and a partnership was born!  The $30,000 project took the SonLight Power-Leja Bulela delegation all the way to Tshibombo Tshimuangi and beyond!  Click here to see video!  

Arrival in Mbujimayi

Arrival in Mbujimayi

The team arrives in Mbujimayi and is joined by the local Leja Bulela members on the ground in Congo

Relaxing in Kinshasa

Relaxing in Kinshasa

After a long day of searching for obscure supplies in Kinshasa, the team relaxes in the shade at a Kinshasa hotel.

Did you forget anything?

Did you forget anything?

Terry and Allen make sure that they have their passports ready to go before heading to the Ndjili Airport to catch a flight to Mbujimayi

Meeting the Bishop!

Meeting the Bishop!

The team was blessed to have an audience and a meal with the Bishop of Mbujimayi, Bernand-Emmanuel Kasanda Mulenga, upon arrival. He was a gracious host and blessed the days ahead for the delegation.

Day 1

Day 1

Day 1 is off to an early start. After a long day of shopping for supplies, it feels promising.

The Truck

The Truck

The team would use this Toyota truck to make the 30 minute trip from Mbujimayi to Tshibombo Tshimaungi 8x in a 10-day period

Flat Tire!

Flat Tire!

Tshiunza Kalubi, Leja Bulela member living in Cincinnati, OH, changes a flat tire on the first day of the trip. Nobody said it would be easy!

Arrival!

Arrival!

The women and children of Tshibombo greeted the team warmly when they heard the truck pull up to the clinic

Unloading the Truck

Unloading the Truck

The local installation team, a group of men from Tshibombo and Mbujimayi, unload the truck

Carry-on Luggage?

Carry-on Luggage?

In order to save on shipping expenses, the team carried on many of the items needed for the installation. This seemed like a good idea until we realized we had no extra clothing!

The Plan

The Plan

Allen, Terry, and Tshiunza go over the plan for the installation of the panels

The Local Team

The Local Team

Local workers, some of them former engineers and machinists, were hired to serve as Leja Bulela's installation team.

The Power Inverter

The Power Inverter

The Leja Bulela Liaison, Pierre Bafue, stands with the newly-installed power inverter.

The Battery Bank

The Battery Bank

The batteries, where power is stored, are positioned below the inverter.

Connection!

Connection!

The battery bank and the inverter are connected.

Measure twice, cut once!

Measure twice, cut once!

The installation team carefully measures the rails for the solar panels. All the rails would need to be cut and pre-drilled.

Home Depot!

Home Depot!

This group of men at Bakwa Dianga (Open-air market) machine a piece of steel into a bracket for the rails the will go on the roof.

Fabricating the Rails

Fabricating the Rails

The solar panels were to be roof-mounted. In order to do that, custom rails had to be created and drilled with precise hole locations for the panels and the mounting hardware.

The Panels

The Panels

Prior to placing the panels on the roof, the rails and hardware had to be fitted on the ground to guarantee proper fit on the roof.

Man Power

Man Power

The panels are carried to the back of the clinic where they are hoisted up via ladder.

Up, up, and away!

Up, up, and away!

It takes 4 men working in unison to get 1 panel from the ground to the roof.

On a Hot Tin Roof!

On a Hot Tin Roof!

Due to the sun, the tin roof was extremely hot! The team had to use cardboard and pieces of wood to create cool places to lay down in order to attach the panels to the rails.

The Heat

The Heat

The heat was incredible and the roof was hot. It was important to stay hydrated at all times!

The Roof!

The Roof!

The install team attaches the panels to the rails.

The whole 9 yards!

The whole 9 yards!

In total, 9 panels were installed on the KMHC roof. The finished product looks amazing!

Let there be light!

Let there be light!

Everyone is all smiles when the lights come on at the KMHC for the first time!

Posing with the KMHC Staff

Posing with the KMHC Staff

Dr. Mwanga Kazadi of Sacramento, CA poses with the staff at the KMHC. She assisted in patient care and child birth while visiting the KMHC in August 2013.

Mwanga & Mwanga!

Mwanga & Mwanga!

Dr. Mwanga Kazadi assisted in the birth of this little bundle of joy at the KMHC! The parents named the baby after her to thank her for her efforts!

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