With only one week left before departure, we had hoped that we’d be packing up all our gear by now. We are woefully behind schedule. Because a number of items in the solar suitcase are custom made for our medical missions, this project requires the efforts coordination of a great many people and organizations. If any one part is held up, it has a ripple effect on other parts of the solar suitcase. High efficiency lights have been specially designed for the Liberian clinics, plugs for the 60 lamp cords we are bringing are individually fabricated…even the solar panels and mounting structures for the corrugated tin roofs in Liberia are being customized for this project! Hal Aronson and Brent Moellenberg have been the backbone of this project. They have both thrown themselves into the redesign and engineering of the Liberian solar suitcase, incorporating the feedback we obtained from our suitcases places in Africa and Haiti. The strain on our core team has been high, and we are so thankful for the weekend influx of highly skilled and dedicated volunteers who have literally kept us afloat. Each day we lead scientists, electrical and mechanical engineers, craftsmen and technicians to our barely recognizable backyard and pair them with soldering irons, heat shrinking tubing, galvanized steel plates, and 12V DC plugs and fuses. Then the fun begins. The piles of assembled lights, solar extension cords, and metal mounting structures are finally rising, and soon we’ll be doing the final assembly of the 20 solar suitcases, and packing them into cardboard boxes that will join us on our journey. Behind the scenes are the graphic artists helping us with user-friendly manuals and training materials, the volunteers helping us keep track of inventory and thinking through how to keep track of the 15-plus boxes we’ll be taking with us on the plane. It truly takes a village…

The photo shows Greg Holmes, software project director; Hal Aronson, co-founder and Technical Director of WE CARE; Mathias Craig, founder of BlueEnergy Group; and Christian Casillas, PhD candidate at UC Berkeley.

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The Solar Suitcase

We Care Solar designs portable, cost-effective Solar Suitcases that power critical lighting, mobile communication devices and medical devices in low resource areas without reliable electricity.

By equipping off-grid medical clinics with solar power for medical and surgical lighting, cell phones and essential medical devices, We Care Solar facilitates timely and appropriate emergency care, reducing maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, and improving the quality of care in Africa, Haiti and other regions.

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We Care Solar promotes safe childbirth in developing countries. Your donations allow us to fulfill requests from clinics around the world in need of Solar Suitcases. Donations also help us integrate new medical applications for the Solar Suitcase, expand our programs, and build a network of local Solar Suitcase trainers and technicians. We welcome and deeply appreciate your support.

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