RDC Bukavu Panzi “Nicola” photovoltaic plant
Novembre 2016. "Thank you to everyone for their collaboration in this great Seva project and will see each other again on the next trip ” .These were the words of the chief technician at the close of the last endeavour in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, where, 15 days after the technicians’ arrival at Bukavu , two new 6 kW photovoltaic power plants had been installed. The first was put together at Panzi Solidarité in order to power wells for drinkable water, the second in the Sister Rita dispensary (Tumino). Here, among the shouts of new mothers and the wails of new-borns enclosed under a roof of hot metal, the installation proved simpler than expected. The beams were still good and the equipment found a home in an abandoned room, behind the administration office.The sites are located on the periphery of Bukavu, an enormous favela where life flows between the too many contradictions of a subjugated people, worn-out by the intense odour of the drenched earth and the open-air cesspools. The two installations are now in full operation. Yet the problems which often arise in Africa were not missing; in fact, an error in the packing list diverted four inverters to other places. Despite the obvious result of the error in delivery, the erroneous recipients communicated nothing to the Xavierian father Franco Bordignon, effective beneficiary of the Seva donation and responsible for the two centres in Bukavu. The inverters were sent to Burundi (2) in another Bukavu centre (1) and to Kalungu, also in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After some telephone research in various directions and trips around half the city the right response arrived from a priest from the Bukavu Diocese. Apologies for the misunderstanding and recovery of the equipment that was still in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The two inverters which ended up in Burundi where however recovered via a complicated transfer across Lake Tanganyika, via Kilomoni: a “hitch” that cost four days of travel and almost 1,000 dollars in customs fees...
With these two installations there are now five power plants established in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Along with the site at Burigni, in fact, Bukavu already had half of the plants completed as part of the 2015 programme Seva for Africa. During 2015, at Burigni in the provincial health centre and training school presided over by the fathers of the Minor Franciscans order a 6kW plant was constructed. While another two of the same size were installed in the Xaverian missions: one in the "Father Giovanni Tumino" Accident and Emergency facility ( 200 new patients and between 90 and 100 births each month, convalescence and day hospital for 15 patients). The other in the training school. Before the work, the “Father Giovanni Tumino” A&E facility was lit only with oil or charcoal lamps. The stand-alone photovoltaic power plant donated by the humanitarian program now allows a serious program of sterilisation, more efficient lighting (above all in the evening) for the after-school students, the activation of a fridge and freezer. In the training school, however, the photovoltaic power plant was delayed in order to guarantee the electricity supply necessary to light the rooms used for training and pumping clean water.