I spoke with Diemeri who manages the beauty salon. He said that the neighborhood had a gas-powered generator that fed everyone’s electricity. This was a good solution for a while but then they started charging them too much money and so they had to switch to a solar system with 300-watt panels and 2 batteries of 120 amps each and that powers the salon all day, the music they play in the salon and a neighbor’s lights for living.
He said that the neighborhood is too poor for expensive commercial power, when they had power it was $25 dollars a month (I think) and it was sporadic, off at least 50% of the time. This is a bad solution for everyone. What they need is inexpensive commercial power that works every day all day and night. Solar systems are ok but there is no room to put enough solar to help everyone – the houses are too small and not structurally sound enough to mount.
I also spoke with a man named Alfonse who is at the end of the street where the salon was – where the village streets meet the main street. Alfonse has a business there as a sort of business center, offering secretarial work, a work station and a printer and copier. He has internet there which is really rare. He uses solar power to keep the internet on 7 x 24, so it powers the router and modem for the internet. He said that having power all the time is important for the router because it keeps him from losing the internet. In spite of this internet is still intermittent. He uses a generator to power the printers and copiers.
Alfonse said that the reason he believes that Goma is cut off from the world is because of the uncertainty of the future. They have no power because no one will invest in power because the city may be blown up by a volcano. He feels that because of this, everything is temporary. If you are going to lose everything it is best if it is things that are cheap and unimportant. He said the political system just makes it worse because it is very uncertain. Brian
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
Life is a gift. Living is a choice.