Part of our remaining team (Dan and Bonnie) returned with a new battery, a multi-meter and prayers that we could sort through the electrical issues preventing the use of the solar panel system at the Los Panales school. The battery fit fine and we began troubleshooting the light circuits. The compact fluorescent lights, which were supplied with the solar panel back in 2008, turned out to be the culprits. No, they were not just burnt out….they were actually shorted out and tripping the ‘breaker’ in the DC to AC inverter. But once we replaced them and re-wired a couple of switches, we had lights in both classrooms and in the kitchen.
The fun began when the leader of the community asked if we could try the TV. The solar power system provided the power and a scrap piece of co-axial wire along with a broken antenna got us going. Add a stick to hang the antenna from the school roof and we were amazed by good reception on at least 4 channels. But our amazement was quickly over shadowed by a small sister and brother, around 3 years old, that had never seen TV. Behaviors around the world are surprisingly consistent: small child + TV + ‘cartoon network’ = a frozen stare. We were blessed that the cartoon was both educational and wholesome. After three trips involving sharing the love of Christ, water balloons, a Hygiene clinic, and a repaired solar power system; we left Los Panales better than we had found it.
The smiles were all the payment needed.