Electricians without borders: the Puerto Maldonado project
Sixth interview with Bernard Bonnefoy, leader of the Puerto Maldonado project.
Bernard, did you plan a second deployment mission in Peru?
Yes, a second mission was conducted last summer in five villages, including Mansilla, Palotea, Itahuania, Boca Del Manu, and Diamante Nuevo.
These villages were identified last year in collaboration with Peru’s Health & Education Ministry managers. Like in 2011, we were missioned to supply these villages with electricity using photovoltaic panels and to electrify schools and health centers.
Do you know these villages? Did you carry out a preliminary study?
These villages are too distant from the town of Puerto Maldonado. Therefore we have not been able to travel on-site in order to carry out a preliminary study.
However, we know that health centers and schools in villages located in this part of the forest have roughly the same needs as in the first-mission villages.
There are no drawings for the buildings that we have to equip, so we’ll need to adapt ourselves. To meet local needs, we plan to use standard electrical installations with two types of photovoltaic kits, one for health centers and the other for schools.
Where are these villages located relative to the first ones?
The first-mission villages are located a day’s travel away by dugout canoe from the town of Puerto Maldonado (our base camp). Three villages were near the Bolivian border on the east side and the other two were closer to the town, on the western side.
This time, we have established our base camp in Salvacion, which is located one and a half day away by minibus. From there, we can reach Mansilla, Palotea and Itahuania via a track. However, Boca Del Manu and Diamante Nuevo are located in even more remote areas and can only be accessed by canoe.
As for equipment, have you been able to “bring the light"?
The electrical equipment was blocked at customs, but the cable did arrived in time. It was donated by Nexans through its subsidiary in Peru, INDECO.
I would like to take the opportunity of this interview to thank again the whole Puerto Maldonado project team for this donation which made it possible to bring the light to schools and health centers in this part of the world.
Next month I will describe in detail the preparations for this second wave of installations and outline our roadmap.