I just came back from a mission trip in Nicaragua where we installed solar lighting on 10 churches in a remote region of that country.  We used the same design I blogged about a few months ago (DIY Solar Lighting Project).  Here is my trip report:

Raiti, Rio Coco, Nicaragua

Raiti, Rio Coco, Nicaragua

The Coco River (Rio Coco) snakes along the northern border of Nicaragua separating it from Honduras. The region bordering the river is home to dozens of Native American (Miskito) villages, and is one of the poorest regions in the Western Hemisphere. With their own tribal governments, languages, and barter systems, this region is unlike anywhere else in the country. There is no electricity, running water, or motorized vehicles. Nearly everyone is illiterate and every community struggles to grow enough food to survive.

Taniska, Rio Coco, Nicaragua

Taniska, Rio Coco, Nicaragua

The villages of the lower Rio Coco, Nicaragua are without electricity.  When the sun, sets there are no lights of any sort.   Under the sponsorship of Life Church (Manassas VA) and Christian Fellowship Church (Ashburn VA) we installed solar lighting for the church buildings in 10 villages from Walakitan to Krin Krin.  This simple system composed of a single 100 watt solar module, a deep cycle battery, and a charger provides power to five 7 Watt LED lights that illuminate each church for 6 hours after dusk.   This additional light provides the ability for fellowship after dark.

There are 14 churches established by Verbo Church (Puerto Cabezas) along the Rio Coco, 10 of which had church structures sufficient for the installation of solar.  The others are under construction and will be installed with solar at a later date.

10-churches on the Rio Coco

10 Churches on the Rio Coco

Battery Box and Charge Controller

Battery Box and Charge Controller

All equipment with the exception of charge controllers (Morningstar SL-10L-12V) were purchased in Managua, Nicaragua’s captial city. The mission team flew from the US to Managua then drove with equipment and supplies to Wiwilli and put in by boat there. The team traveled by boat over 300 mile in five days and installed solar on 10 chruches.

Nicaragua Solar Mission Map

Rio Coco Nicaragua Solar Mission Map

 

 

The team came off the river in Waspan and traveled overland to Puerto Cabezas, then back to Managua by plane. The mission was accomplished on schedule and under the $17, 000 budget. Thanks to the generous support of the sponsors and the prayers of many, the mission was successful. We believe the addition of lights to these churches will have a lasting positive impact to the lives on the people in villages of the lower Rio Coco, Nicaragua.

Mission team:

The Team

The Team

Tim Rumford
Pastor Earl Bowie (Verbo Church)
Mike Morningstar
Dave Haddock
Dustin Holliday