Gloria Upchurch and Anwar Froz were on a mission when they attended the October WE CARE Solar class entitled “Solar for the Developing World.” Gloria was heading back to Tanzania, where she had already delivered three solar suitcases earlier this year. Gloria has been researching and personally delivering clean birthing kits to women around the world for the last several years. She became involved in a project to create a maternity health clinic in Tanzania, and knew how important a source of electricity would be to that project. She brought one solar suitcase to the Olmati clinic in June, but didn’t want to stop there. She wanted a deeper understanding of our solar electric kits. Along with several energetic classmates in our Berkeley site, Gloria spent two days learning the fundamentals about solar electricity from Hal Aronson. This included how to build a solar suitcase, and then how to commission and trouble shoot the systems. Four days after the class, Gloria is returning to Tanzania, this time with the suitcase she built herself!
Anwar Froz is similarly driven…though his passion is to see solar suitcases arrive in Afghanistan, his home country. “I came to the United States in 1979 to learn about solar electricity,” he told us, “but my English was inadequate at the time.” Thirty-one years later his dream is coming true, and Anwar is building solar suitcases to help furnish medical clinics in Afghanistan with light and electricity. Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world. Anwar and his family are committed to helping to improve conditions in medical clinics and they will be delivering their first suitcase this month as well, with plans for more to follow.