Roderick Macintosh and Ada Yee have been in Peru since 2010 establishing the first regional office for Light Up the World in the area. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview them, and they agreed to answer some questions from Facebook and Twitter about what they’re up to!
What do they think you will be doing, or what will this project be doing, in 1, 2, 3 years? Where do you see it going?
LUTW hopes that with our project methodology, qualities of local partners, training of local technicians and the appropriateness of the products we choose to install in the communities all translate into durable, sustainable and robust communities that are using renewable energy and that it has changed their lives for the better. Eventually, LUTW will encounter: more competition (sale of out-of-the-box solar lanterns/pico PV, government projects); less marginalized communities and; less funding opportunities. Our awareness and management of where LUTW works, how LUTW works and what role LUTW plays in the world is a continuous process and part of the incredible dynamics about working in development and with technology.
How do you see your work making a difference in the field?
We really identify and support how LUTW approaches development. The mix of technology, training, health, education, environment, capacity building and gender is such a powerful combination of development issues. LUTW projects really do aspire to achieve a lot and that doesn’t happen without the enormous effort, support and collaboration of LUTW staff, friends/followers, funders, stakeholders and partners.
Do you have any interesting stories (either your own, or from people you’ve met)?
In one of our early projects here in Peru, one homeowner commented that with his traditional use of candles and lanterns, there was always a certain element of romance when the light had to be put out (to conserve resources). With the new LUTW solar home system we installed with light on demand, using a renewable resource and a better quantity and quality of light – he wasn’t entirely convinced this was a good thing!
What sort of challenges do you encounter (weather, language barriers etc)?
The rainy season in the Andes of Peru is a force of nature that makes our work much more difficult (already poor road conditions are made worse, rain at high altitudes turns into hail and snow and keeping certain equipment as dry as possible). Areas of the Amazon region flood in the rainy season which provides a different level of challenge as well. Working with our local partners eases language/dialect issues but Rod and Ada are both fluent in Spanish and picking up bits of Quechua. We encounter animals of all sorts in all our projects – some vicious (dogs), some small (guinea pigs), some annoying (mosquitos) but all a part of a day’s work in the field. Both Rod and Ada enjoy being in the field – connecting with beneficiaries, working alongside our local partners and seeing amazing parts of Peru and the world.
How much of the year do you spend in Peru? What do you like about the country?
Both Rod and Ada have been living in Peru since October 2010 establishing LUTWs first regional office. Approximately half of our time is spent in Lima coordinating projects, logistics, networking and communications. The rest of the time is split between executing projects in the Amazon or Andes regions of Peru. Peru has an amazing geography, warm and friendly people, delicious cuisine, interesting political issues and a rich history – we both feel very fortunate to be here, working for LUTW and interacting with Peru in the manner that we do.
13 Apr 2012 / 0 notes