How Pass It On began: Quebrada Sera La Coopertilla
The owners of the Schooner Pamela Ann befriended and employed a local called Oswaldo and because of a language barrier it was a while before they realized that his home, indeed his village, had no electricity.
Oswaldo proved to be an honest and hard working employee and was soon picking up new skills and was willing to squeeze into places where Tim just didn’t fit. Tim and Pam are natural problem solvers, being boaters and having built their own vessel, so when Tim came across a small used Solar Panel he snapped it up and soon had his hands on a used battery that was up to providing Oswaldo with enough power to make a difference. When they had all they needed, including an inverter, Tim taught Oswaldo how to put the system together and had him practice right there in the marina. Oswaldo enlisted the help of a friend with a truck and took the system home.
I heard about all this and Oswaldo’s excitement and appreciation of now having lights in his home over coffee one morning. It occurred to me that there must be other boaters changing out solar panels for new more efficient ones and their batteries and what Tim and Pam had done for Oswaldo could be repeated elsewhere.
I needed expert local advice so I went to see Rita Rabre, who used to be our fire chief here in the Rio Dulce, and explained the idea to her. She was enthusiastic, made many constructive suggestions and enlisted the help of her husband, Daniel Pinto. Daniel is a local health worker visiting remote villages, knows the people and is trusted by them.
We now had a core team to put the idea into practice and see if it worked. Tim set about designing a system that is simple, easily understood by people with little or no experience of electricity and super safe. Daniel consulted with his superior, Dra Marta Gutierrez, and a short list of villages was drawn up. Rita now works for Captain John’s import business in Bruno’s and so is ideally placed to spread the word about Pass It On’s needs to boaters engaged in changing out old systems. Me? I’m the gofer!
Our first ‘official’ installation was in the village of Serranch and we were lucky enough to Ivan to come along and make a video for us. The link for that can be found on the page for Serranch.