This yr, I launched into a 3-day street journey to the countryside in southern Kenya with my videographer, Abraham, and Renewable World’s undertaking chief, Benson.
Our mission: go to 2 of 4 distant healthcare centres that serve tens of hundreds of native Maasai folks, the place Renewable World is working with the local people to instal life-saving solar energy for the primary time. Be a part of my journey via rural Kenya and witness photo voltaic’s transformative energy.
Hello I am Samsam, I’ve labored at Octopus Power for the previous 5 years, and lived in Kenya for the previous yr and a half. Here is how my epic street journey with Renewable World went…
It’s 6am and I’m woke up by the loud buzzing of my telephone. I scramble to seek out it beneath my mattress as the recent Nairobi solar streaks into my room. As quickly as I reply, a cheery voice booms via the telephone: ‘HI, Samsam! It’s Benson from Renewable World – so excited for our street journey to Kajiado – I’ll be at yours in 30 minutes!’
A stereotypically African 60 minutes later, Benson and I are weaving via chaotic Nairobi visitors listening to mild music from the Mombasa coast. Benson, a smile at all times tugging on the corners of his mouth, tells me all concerning the unbelievable work Renewable World does. He has labored for the organisation for 8 years as a Challenge supervisor, and is delighted to indicate me the thrilling work they’re planning in Kajiado County.
I really like working for Renewable World as a result of I can see firsthand the influence we’re making on the communities we assist. Entry to vitality and healthcare is without doubt one of the largest issues going through these communities and we get to alter folks’s lives’
Benson and I initially of our epic street journey
Like us, Renewable World is on a mission to make inexperienced energy accessible to all.
To attain this they’ve created initiatives to offer free sustainable vitality options to empower and rework communities. In Nepal, they put in solar energy methods in 15 rural clinics remodeling the lives of hundreds. A few of their different tasks we’ve invested in embody bringing clear cooking stoves to households in Rwanda and Somalia and restoring boreholes in elements of Rwanda to cut back carbon emissions and dramatically enhance the lives of individuals within the space.
We’ve got donated to a lot of their tasks on behalf of our Tremendous Inexperienced clients, who wish to carbon offset their fuel (in addition to their electrical energy). For these clients, we add up their annual fuel utilization and donate the equal quantity of carbon offsetting credit score to Renewable World. This balances out the carbon within the ambiance, and ensures low cost, inexperienced vitality entry to fuel-poor communities all over the world.
Benson enthusiastically tells me all concerning the undertaking:
With this explicit pilot undertaking, we’re offering photo voltaic vitality methods to 4 rural well being care services in Kajiado County, with the intention of bettering healthcare for over 25,000 folks!’
Alongside the way in which to our first well being centre, we decide up our videographer Abraham who regales us along with his adventurous tales of travelling via attractive landscapes and war-torn international locations as a contract videographer.
So begins our journey; a 5 hour trek from Nairobi to one of the distant elements of Kenya – only a stone’s throw away from Tanzania (I have to admit feeling tempted to hightail throughout the border for a visa-free go to to the sunny paradise).
We drove via untenable terrain, paving our personal manner throughout mountain ridges to Kajiado county to find how solar energy can rework a neighborhood.
Elkilorid Well being Centre
After a whole lot of miles of lovely landscapes, with limitless rolling grasslands dotted with towering flat-topped acacia bushes, we arrive on the Elkilorid Well being Centre. We have been rapidly invited to a gaggle sit down with the medical doctors, locals visiting the centre and authorities officers supporting Renewable World. I obtained to talk with medical doctors concerning the challenges they face being primarily based so remotely, and with no entry to energy.
I obtained some fascinating perception from native Maasai women and men who advised me about their lifestyle and their experiences accessing healthcare with an absence of energy. Rose, who makes her residing weaving jewelry, tells me;
Ladies on this neighborhood face a lot concern in terms of childbirth. In case your water breaks after darkish, otherwise you face problems, you and your baby won’t survive’
As we’re chatting with the locals, a sudden noise and blow of mud alerts the arrival of the physician, Jared, driving in coolly on his bike from a house go to. The 29 yr previous is the one physician at Elkilorid, one of many solely well being centres in Kajiado west, an space serving over 25,000 folks.
I sat down with him to seek out out what solar energy would imply for the centre. “The well being centre suffers from an absence of electrical energy. With no lights, now we have to carry out life saving procedures with solely telephone flashlights as illumination’’ he tells me ruefully.
There have been days the place I’m performing child-births and tough procedures with one hand, and holding my telephone with the opposite so I can see’
I heard harrowing and heroic tales of medical doctors going above and past to avoid wasting the lives of their sufferers.
There was an evening a girl was delivered to me, closely in labour and shortly after admitting her, she began bleeding profusely. I suspected her placenta had ruptured however with no lights or correct tools I had no manner of confirming that. She wanted to be transported, however my telephone had died because of the lack of energy so my solely resolution was to move her myself. With no automobile, we have been pressured to place her on the again of my bike to drive hours in the direction of the closest facility with energy. She misplaced the kid however fortunately her life was saved. With solar energy, we’ll by no means face a state of affairs like this once more’
The dearth of energy poses challenges on a daily foundation, as Joseph tells me:
We’re unable to purchase essential medicine and vaccines as there aren’t any fridges to retailer them. Resulting from an absence of energy, we will’t even use computer systems to maintain affected person information or analysis higher methods to help our sufferers or refer their care to different well being centres’
Alongside an absence of x-ray or ultrasound machines, and essential diagnostic tools, the well being centre, like others Renewable World is supporting, just isn’t outfitted to offer a very good high quality service to their sufferers.
Every particular person I communicate to tells me how grateful they’re for the work Renewable World is doing and the way solar energy is a life-changing measure for them. Most of the locals dwell easy lives, herding livestock and this centre is their solely supply of healthcare.
Regardless of the challenges they face, the group is longing for the longer term and infrequently get away into suits of laughter watching one another being interviewed. At one level, I marvel at how Rose, who’s in her 80’s may simply go for 20 years youthful. I quietly ask her secret for trying so nice and she or he tells me it’s apparent; ‘by no means cease transferring, and at all times be at one with nature!’’
Elkilorid Well being Centre is without doubt one of the 4 clinics in rural Kenya that Renewable World will probably be remodeling, by putting in a photo voltaic system. That is desperately wanted and the system will give the centre entry to lights to offer 24/7 affected person care, fridges and tools for medicine and different life saving capabilities.
On day two, we rise up at 5am to journey the size of the county to the second well being centre on our agenda; Torosei Dispensery. It’s primarily based in a distant village up within the mountains of Kajiado county and its the one well being care facility for a whole lot of miles.
At round midday, we arrive at Torosei Dispensery, an old-looking however spacious constructing, excessive up within the mountains, deep in Maasai county. We obtain a heat welcome from the native officers and are ushered on to an enormous circle of chairs within the sunny courtyard to get to know the staff and area people a bit higher.
Our first interview of the day is with Physician Josphat, and we observe as he quietly and confidently places his sufferers relaxed. He reveals us across the hospital, and tells us all about his challenges they face because of the lack of energy. He’s the one physician on the facility, so sleeps in a makeshift bed room on the centre to help any emergency sufferers that go to late at night time. To our amazement he casually tells us he’s a bit drained this morning as he was up a lot of the night time attributable to a horde of elephants passing (once more!) by the centre in quest of water.
I obtained the prospect to interview some locals who advised me their private experiences with the healthcare centre. It’s the solely place ladies can come to offer beginning, youngsters can get vaccinated and elders might be examined by a physician. But usually, ladies are pressured to offer beginning with solely telephone gentle as illumination and youngsters are unable to be vaccinated as there aren’t any fridges to maintain the vaccines.
I sought out some locals to get a first-hand understanding of their expertise:
The primary time I gave beginning was traumatising. I used to be delivered to the hospital in the course of the night time and there was one weak flashlight within the nook. There have been sudden problems and I misplaced the infant. I got here again right here to offer beginning to my different youngsters and fortunately these births went nicely. However the dangers are enormous’
I introduced my son to this well being centre after a horrible accident and he needed to have surgical procedure. They didn’t have many sources out there however they did every part they may and I’m grateful for that’.
This centre, like the opposite 3 centres chosen for this undertaking, fulfil a vital function of their respective communities. For hundreds, that is the one care out there to them and too usually, it is the distinction between life and dying.
Different organisations have tried to begin related solar energy tasks however with no continued funding for upkeep or maintenance, the methods rapidly go into disrepair. Renewable World is set to make it possible for doesn’t occur right here. Benson makes it clear to me that sustainability is the one most necessary factor to Renewable World.
What units Renewable World aside is our deal with sustainability. Alongside the native authorities, we’re devoted to funding and making certain the undertaking stays successful, and scaling this undertaking to clinics all throughout Kenya’
On our ultimate day, we obtained up early at our lodge in Kajiado city decided to find extra about Kajiado. We visited the busy market and obtained to know the local people a bit higher. One significantly pleasant lady promoting contemporary produce demanded I take her son’s telephone quantity as he was on the lookout for a third spouse; ‘He already has two wives, meaning he’s well-trained and ladies like him – give him a name!’
Admittedly, the logic is foolproof.
Having lived in Kenya for the previous yr and a half, I’m at all times struck by the open hearted friendliness and heat welcome wherever you go. This street journey supplied an interesting perception into life in rural Kenya, and the challenges that include a life spent in the dead of night.
From listening to first-hand concerning the experiences of a conventional Maasai lady to the physician’s harrowing and heroic tales, I used to be struck by the depth of experiences on this small rural space.
Most of all, I used to be struck by the dedication and calm acceptance with which every particular person devoted themselves to caring for others, by whichever means they’d out there.
Earlier than we depart, I take a second to take a seat down with native official Laido to debate the governments connection to Renewable World.
‘Poverty, an absence of energy and entry to healthcare are points that plague thousands and thousands of Kenyans, significantly these in rural areas akin to Kajiado county. Organisations like Renewable World are essential if we wish to remedy these points’.
Kenya is residence to the continent’s largest wind farm and the electrical energy provide is presently round 75% powered by clear, renewable vitality. Many are turning to photo voltaic vitality and it’s not unusual to see photo voltaic panels and mini grids put in on shanty huts and even photo voltaic powered umbrellas powering bikes as unbelievable modern and inexpensive options. However solar energy continues to be not accessible to all.
An absence of sources in well being care services have led to excessive incidences of maternal and baby mortality in addition to a excessive variety of infectious ailments akin to TB and Malaria. These points are considerably impacted by an absence of energy, dramatically lowering the standard and entry to dependable healthcare.
For the hundreds of Maasai folks determined for emergency procedures, beginning help and covid vaccines, the peace of mind of dependable energy will probably be life-saving.
Renewable World’s dedication to offering energy the place there may be none, is projected to make an enormous life-saving influence in maternal and baby well being care in addition to therapies and diagnoses that require fridges and tools.
I’ll be visiting once more in a number of months, as soon as the photo voltaic set up methods have been accomplished to see first-hand how this neighborhood is remodeled.
Hold an eye fixed out for half two…
The contents throughout the article have been provided through Newswire for Finencial.com, go to