Monday, January 2, 2012

Solar Light in Kakabay

Every time we have gone to Valley Cathedral, I have had the privilege of accompanying Greg on a trip to Kakabay. Greg is on staff at Valley Cathedral and has done a lot of ministry in Kakabay. In the course of our visits we have performed puppet shows, taught at the school, baptised a new believer, spoke at a funeral, played basketball, as well as spent time chatting.

This time I was excited to bring simple solar technology to help light a home. Recently I came across an article about solar lighting using inexpensive materials and common tools. (You can check it out by clicking the link at the end of the post.) Although it is not helpful after dark, a solar bottle-light can provide free lighting in dark rooms and houses during the day. Greg and I talked with the pastor in Kakabay, Pastor Robert, about whether this would be helpful there, especially since Kakabay has no electricity. 

Pastor Robert suggested that we install a light in the home of Teresita, or Tess. She is a widow with about 10 children. Her husband is the one I baptized and at whose funeral I spoke. I was glad that he chose her home. Because installation is easily reproducible, he assured me that we did not need to worry about causing jealousy within the community.

The church on the left; Tess's house on the right

As we drove to Kakabay I was excited to see that the garbage dump has now been moved. In the past, you had to drive or hike through the garbage to get to the village. You still pass the dump on your way to Kakabay, but it is now off the road and in a fenced area. This is very good news, especially for the students who traverse this path every day.

Soon after we arrived, we got to work preparing the bottle for installation. We learned along the way that it is important to make sure you don't leave sharp points on the metal since they can easily poke a hole in the bottle, not good. As I showed Pastor Robert how to install the bottle-light, Greg worked with the many eager children to take pictures and video.

The tools and materials, chisel and bleach not shown
The process is simple. Prepare a piece of roofing metal with a hole that fits snugly around the midsection of a clear soda bottle filled with water and a little bleach. Apply sealant to ensure this will not leak. Cut a hole in the roof for the lower portion of the bottle to slide through. Secure and seal the flashing. Enjoy free lighting as light is gathered in the upper portion of the bottle above the roof surface and dispersed in the room below. If you watch the video in the post and the news video linked at the bottom of the post, you can see how it all works.
Preparing the bottle-light before making a hole in the roof
It was hot up there! I cannot imagine wearing a jacket.
Tess watching the progress from below
Curious relatives peering through the doorway
It works!
 You can watch our progress in the video below...

After the installation was complete, we went for a walk through the village. A few things have changed since I last visited: the basketball hoop is in a new place, a friend's home is now completed, etc. But most remains the same.

Greg or one of his helpers caught this photo which I could not help but include.
Kakabay's only running water, besides the often stagnant stream

Click here to see the report I mentioned about solar bottle-lights.


  1. This is so great! After seeing the article, and then seeing you install one in Tess' home . . . makes me smile. Way to go, taking light AND the light of the world to Kakaby!!! So proud of you guys . . .

    1. I love when I have the opportunity to visit Kakabay. Installing the light was quite enjoyable; it feels good when you can make a difference in someone's life.

  2. how can i contact you? we would really want to learn more about Kakabay