- Essays: On The Road (And A Little Off)


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AFRICA AT NIGHT: check it out:

Here's a map of the middle of the world, showing Eurasia and Africa.

As you can see, Eurasia has a lot of lights and Africa doesn't have many.

I meet a strange Zimbabwean M.D lady, trained in the United States, and with a thriving practice here in Middle Tennessee, who regularly cycles between lectures in Buenos Aires and Bengladish, as well as the U.N., and she interests me and us into putting together a package to demonstrate the ease of installing 24-hour-a-day solar lighting in clinics throughout the Dark Continent.

A tete a tete is performed. Friendships develop. I get on the internet.

Now, I've run my whole career as a non-profit, though never intentionally, but nonetheless this comes easy to me. It ain't nothin new.

So I find out a shitload about solar power available nowadays. I am not surprised that a) it ain't changed that much since I first studied it, and b) the technology side ain't changed that much, either. So that c) anybody can do it.

What's happenin' these days is flexible solar panels. It's a long story, fraught with intrigue, but the upshot is that nobody in America is makin these panels.

I get in touch with some folks in China because that's where it all went when the Koreans and Germans aped it from Stan Ovshinsky's estate in Detroit.

Over the course of months the Panama team deep in their underground warrens, puts together a package cruise that will display two rollup adhesive panels, a charge controller, two 12V 21 Amp hour batteries, a switch, and two 2 lights, which blaze on with astonishing brightness to reveal, perhaps, the young African mother delivering her child in safety, a young life saved because the medico could adequately see the problem. This gets a green light from the African princess and we send off for the parts.

The parts come.

                                              -30- for now