Solar Workshop in Kiribati
Rainbow Power Company was contacted by Kiribati Solar Energy Company to conduct a training course for the Kiribati island nation. They had been having trouble with the low voltage systems provided by the UN and needed some training in installation, maintenance and troubleshooting. After some negotiations the United Nations approved and funded the course. The 5 day course, Installation and Maintenance of DC Lighting Systems, was conducted by RPC's System Designer and Trainer, John Davis.
Only some of the students spoke English so there were plenty of practical demonstrations and class activities to bring the subject alive. Whilst the language barrier was an issue, the training was enhanced by the sheer enthusiasm of the students’ desire to learn. All the students learnt a lot about the DC systems being used and at the end of the course were presented with certificates at a party thrown Kiribati style: with local cuisine, traditional dancing, and some interesting paid entertainment!
John observed: "Conditions in Kiribati are tough for most of the locals; there is little income and work seems scarce. Most people still seem happy though. The overt opulence of the Australian Embassy was a bit of an embarrassment among the restrained efforts of other countries. On the main road they have a sign indicating the highest point above sea level on the island, a lofty 3m. There is a high level of Christian based religions and missionaries on the island."
On John's return to the airport for his flight home, the locals watched the 737 take off. They didn't seem to mind the noise and after the plane had left, they went back to playing on the runway!