Monday, July 13, 2009

Successfully generating electricity for 37 houses!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

First Generation Successful

On 17th June, our entire team including the three of us (me, Tamas and Kamil) and Mr. Surendra Mathema along with his wife and Dr. Damber Bahadur Nepali made a trip to the village to test the first generation of electricity.
Water was passed through the penstock to the peltric generating set. Mr. Surendra with the assistance of his wife measured the flow of the water, its potential and the electricity generated. Although our peltric set is actually made to generate 3KW of electricity, 3.8KW of electricity was recorded to have generated. However, since in the long run this could be harmful for the set, he fixed the controller to generate only 3KW.
On the same trip the three of us got to visit more houses in the village and meet more villagers and learn about them and their lifestyle. We also got to interview several villagers and learn about their reaction towards the project and their plans / feelings towards getting electricity in their houses.
The trip was full of new experiences. We got to learn more about the technical aspects of this project which has been a drawback for us due to our lack of knowledge in the field. However, our team with such professional individuals definitely helped us a lot.
Special thanks to my cousin, Kritish Rajbhandari who acted as a translator and helped out in the interviewing process for his assistance and tremendous support.
Undoubtedly, the first test of the generation of electricity was successful and so was our trip!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My experience at Mapikhel...

Visiting Mapikhel village was the essence of my stay in Nepal. I was looking forward to seeing the place of our project with my own eyes. The village is not far from Kathmandu but is not easily accessible. The road is mostly gritty and it takes three-four hours to get the place. When I got to the village I realized that several houses are scattered all over the place in the forested mountains and valleys. We stopped over at one of the houses. I was happy and grateful towards the hospitality of the people who prepared lunch for us. We ate rice, lentil and potatoes, typical meal of the villagers and it was cooked using firewood. This was the second time I had eaten a meal with my hands. I got to see the life of local people there and found it to be very monotonous. To me, their activities seemed very limited including working on the corn field, eating the same food every day and sitting in front of their houses and gazing at the surrounding wilderness and talking to other locals. I was happy our project will give them the power that will enrich their lives in many ways. They will not need to go to bed when the sun goes down, their children will not need to study under the dim light of kerosene lamps, families will be able to listen to the radio for entertainment and to listen to other news and programs. I hope that electricity brings hope for their future and will be a breakthrough in their lives.

I particularly enjoyed interviewing the local people and other members of our team who without whom our project wouldn't have been possible. While interviewing them, I felt as if I were a journalist and a social worker. I am exhilarated for being part of this project which makes such a meaningful difference in the lives of these people and hopefully in Nepal too. I am also very happy that our project takes advantage of the hydro power potential of the country. When I was in the village I felt our project might be a historical small brick in building a sustainable source of energy for the whole country. I hope to continue being involved in this and similar development projects taking place in Nepal.

-Kamil Adamczewski

Friday, June 12, 2009

My first trip to the village...

My first trip to the village was short, but very exciting and adventurous. It all began with the bus ride: sitting on sugar and rice bags for several hours with no legroom at all, and the dust coming in from one window and leaving through the other made this ride an unforgettable one. It was a huge relief to arrive to the village and finally be able to stretch my legs!
The villagers were looking forward to our arrival, and made lunch for us. I hope I impressed them by trying to eat with my hands, but for me, it was great success.
We began our tour of the village by getting an idea of where the houses were located, and how the cables should go. The villagers had started putting up the poles for the electric wiring, and few of the houses were already connected to the system. There were 2 houses located on the side of a mountain, about 2.5 km away from the power house, whose owners had been working hard and helping in the project as a labor contribution to get electricity in their houses.
We had the chance to take a look at the power house also. The peltric set was set up, but we were still waiting for the electric equipment to be connected.
We got to meet a few locals who took us along the river where the pipe was running. The 465m of pipes were set up on the side of the mountain, and the top is located about 120m above the peltric set. I was amazed by the beauty of the environment. We passed by countless waterfalls on the way up to the top. One filter was put on the entrance of the penstock which maybe not enough in the future, but everything else seemed to be ready to work.
Unfortunately we could not do more after sunset, so we decided to head back to our host for the night. We were invited for dinner, where we got to learn about the village, the people who lived their, about their lives, and they also got to learn about us.
I think the first visit went very well, and now we can move on with the project.
- Tamas Kolos-Lakatos

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Additional 45m transported

After getting the information about the additional 45m of pipe needed to complete the required length of the penstock, Nepal Poly Pipe immediately got the 7 pieces of pipe ready. Mr.Shyam Lama came to Kathmandu right away to pick them up and transported it to the village. Although on our side it was only making a few phone calls to Nepal Poly Pipe and coordinating between them and Mr. Shyam Lama, the eagerness and interest of the villagers made it possible to get the pipe transported within 24 hours. At the beginning we were very worried because transporting the pipe could be a big problem. After spending on the peltric set and especially the pipes we couldn't afford to spend more money on renting a truck and a driver to transport just those 7 pieces of pipe. However, now, the penstock is officially 465m long and all the required amount of pipe is at the village ready to be connected so we can move on to the next phase of construction.

Monday, June 8, 2009

420m of pipe insufficient

The construction work had been running smoothly until June 8th when we discovered that 420m long pipes that had already been transported to the village were insufficient. We had been hoping that all the construction work related to the pipes i.e. connecting all the High Density Polyethylene Pipe would be complete by 8th / 9th June so that we could proceed to the next step of the project i.e. wiring in the village. The local correspondent in the village contacted us to inform that all the pipes had been used up and 45m more was needed to complete this phase of the project.

In the initial stage when the project started, the rough estimation of the length of the pipe required was made in a traditional way by using a string. Thus, the distance between the river and the location where the power house would be constructed i.e. the length of the penstock for the generation of appropriate amount of electricity was determined. In order to prevent the situation we are facing today, the length was measured three times then but that obviously wasn’t enough. However, when the construction began, the flexibility of the string used to measure caused room for error. This situation wasn’t completely unexpected but the only issue was the problem of transporting 7 more pieces of pipes that weigh 4kgs each.
We have decided to contact Nepal Poly Pipe and buy additional 45m of pipe from them as soon as possible so that the construction work can continue and we can generate electricity on time.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Construction work speeding

Although pre-Monsoon had alarmed us, the last two sunny days have brought back our spirits up again. The weather finally acted in our favor and in order to make the most out of it, the villagers have been working hard to complete the construction work. The Power House is almost ready with only the construction of the foundation for the set and its installation remaining. In addition, half of the tremendously long penstock has been installed. According to Mr. Keshab Prasad Ghimire who updated us with the latest progress information and shared with us the enthusisum, eagerness and happiness of the villagers to make the project successful and finally get electricity, "villagers of all ages worked hard all day to connect the pipes and got half of it done." Looks like the weather and in fact, nature itself is indeed in our favor...positive signs like these remind me of the book The Alchemist and the possibility of making dreams turn into reality. Oh, we are so totally going to have all the houses in this village lit with electricity! yay!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Equipment arrived despite early monsoon

On 26th May 2009, Mr. Keshab Prasad Ghimire who has been acting as the local correspondent, updating us with the progress of construction in the village and communicating with us regarding any equipment or material required for the construction called us to inform that all the equipment had arrived in the village safely. Despite the early monsoon rain on Monday that had caused landslide on the way and a delay of three hours, Mr. Shyam Lama and Mr. Dhanbahadur Shangtang, the villagers who had come to Kathmandu on the truck successfully transported the equipment to the village.

Monsoon season in Nepal is expected to act as one of the biggest drawbacks of our summer project. The Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD) has said that Monsoon will hit the country early this year, possibly with first shower on 5th June, which is 5 days earlier than the normal date (Kantipur Report.) Monsoon contributes more than 80% of the annual rain (Kantipur Report) followed by torrential rain that benefits 76% of the population which depends on agriculture for living to irrigate land also causes problems of flood and landslide in several parts of the country. Early Monsoon might occupy the villagers around this time of the year in cultivation slowing down the construction work for our project. The monsoon rain can make it more difficult to work outdoors and proceed with the next step of the project i.e. to complete the construction of the Power House and to connect the pipes to make Penstock.

Let's hope that despite the possible hindrance, with the help of the villagers who are thrilled to be finally getting electricity in their village, support from Dr. Damber Bahadur Nepali who has been generously supervising every step of the progress and active participation of Mr. Surendra Mathema and his team from Power Tech Nepal and Mr. Keshab Prasad Ghimire, we will definitely succeed in our goal of generating hydroelectricity for the 30 houses.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Almost all equpiment transported!!

On 24th May 2009, after spending almost an entire day confirming the status of the equipment, on 25th May, we finally transported almost all equipment to the village. A truck arrived in the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley to pick up equipment including tin roof to complete the construction of the Power House, cement and sand to construct the foundation of the Peltric Set, 420m of High Density Polyethylene Pipe from Nepal Poly Pipe for Penstock and Peltric Generating Set from Power Tech Nepal. Dr. Nepali coordinated and led the truck team to various locations where all the equipment and materials were picked up from. Special thanks to him without whose generous help, the all-day-long endeavor would have been impossible.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Philanthropist challenges college students to actively encourage peace

"After reviewing the submissions, Middlebury College President Ron Liebowitz’s office chose to fund an additional project titled “Development of a Model Micro Hydropower Project in Nepal.” Middlebury College sophomore Dristy Shrestha has teamed with two other non-Middlebury students to develop a micro hydropower unit that will generate hydroelectricity for at least 30 households as a model with the hope to inspire and educate other villages and encourage rural development in Nepal."
(Blair Kloman
, March 17th 2009)

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