Friday, 11 September 2009

à mon frère Auguste

Mardi 8 septembre 2009 en région parisienne, tu es parti pour ton dernier vol, tu n'es jamais revenu.
Mardi 8 septembre 2009 à Bluefields, les fanfares ont défilées, elles ne s'entrainaient pas pour la fête nationale, elles marchaient pour toi, en honneur à ta mémoire.
Mardi 8 septembre 2009, pluies torrentielles sur Bluefields, ce n'est pas la saison des pluies, c'est des pluies pour rincer mes souvenirs et ne me laisser que les meilleurs que j'ai de toi: nos spectacles de marionnettes à la fenêtre de la caravane, nos matchs de basket, tes visites à Nantes, à Strasbourg, en Australie, mes WE à Paris, mon vol avec toi en pilote, notre dernier noël ensemble...
Tu es parti bien trop tôt, en vivant ta vie et ta passion à fond. Je ne t'aurais jamais vu dans tes 30 ans. Tu resteras toujours pour moi ce petit frère de 29 ans dont j'avais temps à apprendre. Tu seras toujours présent en mon cœur.
Le monde a perdu un peu de son éclat ce mardi 8 septembre 2009.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Conference in Cajamarca, Peru

Following up our stay in Ecuador we left for Peru. Just stoping by Lima fo the night and straight to Cajamarca, in the north of Peru. Cajamarca is a little town, high up in the Andean mountains (2500m) with many more shops than in Bluefields, opening up till 8pm.... CRAZY! Even with this big city feel, lots of people here go around in traditional clothing that is, for women, a dark color woolen trouser, a bright colored skirt with many white petticoats underneath, a bright colored woolen top and the very traditional shawl used most of the time as backpack to transport huge amount of green herbs, wood, buckets full of stuff, merchandise for sell or babies....

But we didn't come here to look at the fashion, we were in Cajamarca to attend the 13th edition of ELPAH (Encuentro Latinoamericano y del Caribe sobre Pequeños Aprovechamientos Hidroenergéticos). The ELPAH went for 5 days from the 20th and begun by... a transport strike including road blocks and stoning of taxis if they dared work. Considering the ELPAH was held at CEDECAP (Centro de Demostración y Capacitación y en Energías Renovables, their very own mature version of CERCA), some 15km away from Cajamarca, the first morning was slightly messy on the time schedule. But all was perfect: the participants were for the most of them amazing people with incredible experience in rural electrification with renewable energies.

The talks were tremendously interesting and we learned a lot. Amongst participants, a Colombian engineer specialist in renewable energies, environment and human development gave a talk on river turbine (kind of wind turbine but using the flow of water to spin the blades), an Argentin Doctor gave a course on where and why it is best to place wind turbine depending on the landscape, a Spanish Doctor explained the program her team is designing to calculate the differences of cost versus electricity production between puting individual small wind turbines or bigger ones with micro grids, all depending on the space between houses and the wind resources of the community.... Amongst participants were also a representant from Green Empowerement and one from Hivos.... and us, I presented blueEnergy projects on Thursday.

The presence of D. from Hivos as well as M. from FEDETA (whom we had just visited in Ecuador) couldn't have been more timely. Indeed, the idea is to do a joint project between FEDETA and blueEnergy to exchange expertise. But for any projects, fonds are necessary.. and here come the representative of Hivos South America, announcing Hivos South America would like to start sponsoring renewable energy projects!

Also represented at the conference were several Central American and Carribean organizations from Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba, Guatemala and obviously us from Nicaragua. It was a first for ELPAH and it was decided that the next edition of ELPAH (in 2011) would take place in Central America for the first time. To include a bit more these countries in the ELPAH process, we all got invited to the last meeting of HydroRed, which is a network of organizations working on rural electrification with renewable energies, and their members invited us to join their network. This network is based on solidarity between individual and/or organization working in the field, with knowledge sharing, international courses on different topics, consulting services... A great opportunity for blueEnergy!

The conference also included a field trip to one of the ITDG/CEDECAP community near Cajamarca to instal several individual 100W wind turbines. Unfortunately only Ismael made it as I was feeling sick and the idea of being sick at more than 3500m high is not a encouraging one. Ismael had the opportunity to see how they install their towers and wind turbine on the field. His first words when coming back were “men it's cold out there” then “blueEnergy is really good in terms of safety matters compared to them”... Apparently during this field trip, a tower fell, fortunately not on anybody, but it left people a bit shaken!

The conference ended on Friday, with the closing words of thanks (I got chosen to say some words in the name of the participants of the conference...) and a speech from the Cajamarca's mayor... without forgetting the little glass of pisco. Then everybody was off for the closing dinner held in town with distributions of honors to old members of HydroRed and a show of traditional dances. We will keep in mind lots of good memories from this conference, but above all, that we at blueEnergy are not the only crazy ones fighting to electrify remote communities, there are many organizations doing that in Latin America with tons of experiences (bad and good ones) that are just waiting to be shared.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

trip to the jungle... almost...

So we were in Ecuador with Ismael to work with this organization called FEDETA doing rural electrification... yeah, same as blueEnergy and that's exactly why we were there, to learn from these big brothers that have more experience! FEDETA stands for federación Ecuatoriana de tecnología apropiada. This organization created more than 15 years ago works to bring energy to isolated communities in Ecuador, mostly on the coast in the amazonian region with indigenous communities.
The goal of the visit was to learn from FEDETA extended experience on rural electrification and get to know more about their “modelo FEDETA”. The modelo FEDETA is a method to lead a project to success, starting from the pre studies of communities, the installation, the training of the beneficiaries, and a method of administration of the systems put in a communities because lets face it, in blueEnergy there is room for emprovement on this point and we are all working hard on filing this room.
On the first day, after a short meeting with both directors, we presented the activities of bE to volunteers (there are 4 at the moment) and directors. The second day FEDETA explained to us their project and told us a bit more about their method. The rest of the week was spend reading through their material and asking all the questions we could have on their project... and we had a lot! Most of the questions got a replied but instead of explaining in details their model in an office, the directors of FEDETA decided it would be more useful and appropriate to make a joint project together and learn from each other. The last days were thus spent elaborating the draft of an agreement to enable future joint work in Ecuador and Nicaragua.
On our last day we went with a group of FEDETA to visit some communities for a pre study of a possibilities of electrification. Getting to the communities, although done by road, was far from easy. The four wheel drive was undoubtedly very needed and made us miss our “smooth” pangua rides! The communities resembled very much to our communities on the Caribbean coast by their lack of access to all commodities of the modern world. The meetings were short but efficient with carefully chosen questions.
This trip also gave us the opportunity to witness the damage of the oil industry in the countryside of Ecuador... Just 2 months before our visit, a big pipeline had broken due to an earthquake and crude oil had spilled all around in one of the community, first to the land than to the river. The oh-so-nice oil company did clean up their mess well from what the people of the community was saying... but the same people also told us they kept on fishing in the river, bathing and drinking this same water that they think is not poluted... All the same, at dinner that night in a nearby village, I didn't eat the locally fished trout!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Quito tan alto

Vista de Quito con el volcán Cotopaxi (mas alto volcán activo en el mundo)

Aquí estoy, desde 15 días, en Quito. La llegada fue maravillosa. B. me había dicho "vas a ver, es como aterizar en el centro de la cuidad y la cuidad se mira un poco como Medellin. B. tenía toda la razon. Al aterizare fue como si el avión iba a aterizar sobre una de las mas central avenida.
Al salir del avión, tenía que ir por las douanas como siempre pero esta vez había un pequeña sorpresa: una verificación de su estado de salud, no por medio del certificado de salud que hize en Bluefields especialmente para este viaje y que nunca me pidieron, pero por medio de un aparato para medir a distancía la temperatura del cuerpo de una persona.
La cola para eso fue bien larga y empezaba a sentir los primeros effectos de la altitud (Quito esta quasi a 3000m de altitud, segunda capital mas alta del mundo detras de La Paz en Bolivia). En la cola, me volvía la cabeza y tenía miedo sentirme mal y que piensan que yo tenía la gripe porcina... Pero no, me controlio y paso sin problemas.
Durante 3 largos días tenía la cabeza como si iba a explotar y hasta hoy estoy sofocando cada vez que me muevo, aun solamente para subir o bajar las escaleras que van entre mi cuarto y los baños o la cocina del hotel. Parece que las calles de Quito se juegan de los turistas afligidos del malestar de la altitud. Las calles siguen las curvas de las montañas y suben y bajan a cada rato. Así solamente para caminar 2 cuadras esta te toma como 10 minutos y termina sin aliento...
Dicen que el mal pasa en "unos días"... bueno, lastima por los turistas que se quedan solamente unos días!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Toilettes plus accueillantes que jamais!

Après les chauve souris dans les étagères de vétements ou dans le bureau, après la mygale dans la chambre et le crapaud dans le lit voilà que nous avons un nouvel arrivant, un crapaud aussi, qui a établit son camps dans.... le réservoir de la chasse d'eau de nos toilettes. Il y vit depuis une petite semaine et a l'air de bien s'y sentir.... Il voit pourtant tous les volontaires défiler et faire leur besoins divers et variés mais il lui en faut apparement plus pour le déloger...

Saturday, 6 June 2009

la misma primera discusión por la no-sé-cuanto-pero-mucho vez

Aqui estoy otra vez... Hablando con unas de las nuevas almas de casa, E., que recien llegaron a trabajar para blueEnergy. Misma presentaciones:
E.: ¿De dondé viene?
Yo: De Francia
E.: ha... debe ser bonito aya
Yo: Si, es bonito aya, pero también es bonito aqui
E.: .....
Yo: ¿Usted es de Bluefields?
E.: Si... ¿Usted tiene niños?
Yo: No
E.: ..... (Aqui E. me mira como si estoy de otra planeta... )
E.: Pero.... ¿Que edad tiene?
Yo: tengo 31 años
E.: ..... (Ahora se ve que se pregunta si estoy sana o si tengo una enfermedad o algo para no tener hijos a esta edad)
E.: Pero... entonces no quiere niños
Yo: Si quiero, pero tengo que encontrar un buen hombre que sera buen padre antes
E.: .... (E. esta muy confusa ahora....)
E.: Yo tengo 34 años y tengo 6 hijos, el mas viejo tiene ya 16 años, le tuve a los 18
Yo.: .... (¿Que puedo responder a eso?)
E.: ¿Y cuantos quería tener?
Yo: Bueno, a empezar con uno y después a ver lo que pasa
E.: Pero uno es como ninguno... (entiende, tiene que tener mas, por lo menos 3)
Yo: Bueno, tal vez hago uno y adopto otro(s)
E: Pero mejor hacerlos
Yo: Pero si ya hay muchos niños que no tienen padres para darle el cariño y la atención que necesitan, ¿para que hacer mas y no ayudar a los que ya están en este mundo?
E.: Pero cree que se pueden amar como a sus niños propios
Yo: claro que si
E.: ..... (es claro que ella no piensa lo mismo sobre el tema)
Aquí paremos.... Y como cada vez que tengo este conversación, es decir cada vez que encontró una nueva persona aqui, me pone pensativa y triste.... Esas conversaciones me hacen sentir como si estoy gastando mi vida haciendo cosas no importante mientras debería estar muy ocupada cuidando mi familia.... De aqui salen preguntas: ¿Una familia no se crea por parte de solamente una persona, porque nadie aqui parece entender que todavia no encontré la persona con cual quiero crear mi familia? ¿Soy demasiado dificil para eligir a una pareja? Es un poquito reductor ver las mujeres incompletas si no tienen niños, ¿no?
También hay las preguntas sobre esa increible diferencia de cultura.... Para ellos aquí, o por lo menos la grande mayoría de la gente que encontré aquí, hay que tener hijos, no importa si la relación esta estable o si creen que van a poder dar una buena vida (¿que es una buena vida?) al niño, y no importa la sobre población del mundo (estoy quasi segura que nunca escucharon algo sobre este tema en su vida).... Todo eso me deja sin saber que pensar.... ¡o mejor decir, con demasiado que pensar!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

where does the time go???

Yep... that's already 2 weeks I haven't written and I'm about to leave for another week in the jungle where the monkeys awl and where internet is just not reaching....
My last adventures? Well, for a start I came back from Monkey Point in a drug dealer's boat without knowing it... I got told about the drug dealer guy afterward along with the fact that I was REALLY beyond naive sometimes... or all the time... Ho well. Everything is well, they were friendly and gave us a ride home for free...
And how did I find out... Well, really, I didn't, but Scott, who was with me for the ride, did. Actually, he thought something fishy was going on with the people in this boat but well, that was either going back with them or being stuck for 3 more days in Monkey Point (to think of it, the second option was not bad at all). Anyway, he ask some of his local friends when back in Bluefields and the rumor has it that a load of cocaine has been thrown away offshore of Nicaragua. People here know the streams and they know when a drug shipment is thrown to the water, it tends to end up somewhere on the beach around Bluefields area.
And so the crew members of our boat ride were passing by to look and ask around if they were any sign of the white lobster as they call these packet of very white cocaine bags landing on the beaches around here. Officially they were in Monkey Point so one of them could visit his mum living in this community. Unofficially... well, they asked around and dropped one guy on the beach in the middle of nowhere between Monkey Point and Bluefields (I actually remember that I did wonder at that point why the hell they were dropping the guy off there but well... people sometimes, more often than not, do strange things around here...).
I don't know the end of the story... that is, if they've found something or not. What I know is that rumors of drug cargoes being dumped at sea these days are getting stronger and that's a real possibility that a good numbers of locals are walking around on beaches in search of this unseasonal lobsters just as I write. Scary? well... kind of... But mostly I wonder, of course I know drug is bad but the people around really could use a bit more of cash flow: P. could use it to finish and build this eco lodge he's dreaming of, P. (a different one) could use it to build his church, D. could use it and live of it and come back to teach, M's family could use it to send her to high school or uni in Bluefields, G. could use it to refurbish the health center... so I wonder... what would I do if I end up finding one myself? What would YOU do?