[Paolo Nutini – Looking for Something]
There is nothing so fullfilling as the feeling of a hot shower well earned. The dusty closes fall off, stay behind in the other room. A long look in the mirror, studying your dirty sunburned face. The hair still ruffeled from the cap. The fresh towel eager anticipating to wrap itself around your clean warm body. But not yet.
The soap and shampoo subtle tickling your nose and senses. The hand reaches for the tap to open and the warm, almost to warm but not quite, water starts pouring over your head. The tense muscles slowly releasing tension. The aching lower back slowly ceasing its complaints. And all the while that tune playing in the background. The lyrics don’t really fit the situation. But the mood of the instruments and the voice does. What are words anyway?
Over the past couple weeks I have been participating in quite some solar installations. All interesting. All taking me to unique places. But this week is special. Three high end bush camps in Ruaha National Park in one week. This is the second. The tents are fully equiped with showers and toilets and double bed. The only reason why you could still call them a tent is because the walls and the roof are canvas. The camps are open so you can encounter wild animals at any moment next to your tent on on the way to dinner. Especially at night sometimes whole herds of giraffes and elephants pass through. Or you get woken at 2 am by a roaring lion some 20 meters away from the tent.
Today I have been setting up a battery bank. Not alone of course. But I’m trying to take more and more the lead as my knowledge and experience grows. All the while enjoying the incredible setting I am working in. Our transfer from one camp to another turned into a full fledged game drive with giraffes, monkeys, a family of elephants, buffalos and a lone lion. Those amber eyes. Man.
Solar is the way to go. The Tanzanian Netprovider Tanesco blacks out a couple times a day. Not counting the “black outs” when things get heated in the parlament discussions on live tv or when court cases concerning corruption scandals are to be broadcasted. Adding the rumors about the government not really being interessted in electrifying the rural villages as it would increase their access to information and yeah: Solar is the way to go.
Since I started on this journey I have been moving from the ground leveled grass roots organisations to a high end installation company. And it is a fullfilling job. People are so grateful for the reliable energy source we are providing them with. They appreciate the correct, tidy, durable installations we do. The price of the systems is not cheap. But chinese technology installed by half hearted workers has to be bought at least twice. The systems are always failing. Quality triumphs. A good feeling.
Frank, my german-grown-dutch-expat-now-married-to-a-tanzanian-woman mentor in this practical part of my two month learning experience is a jack of all trades and never stops talking. A constant stream of stories, experience and remarks is washing over me.
So that’s where I am. A solar power technician, sitting in front of his hotel room like tent in the Tanzanian wilderness, the heat of the shower still lingering in his body while the sun is setting orange-red and the cold evening air starts tickling the feed. The lights in the tent are powered by the battery bank, charged by the solar panels. Well deseverd indeed.