Energy for Refugees Lesvos adventure has come to its end.
For some days now, we have left Lesvos and went back to our own countries. Energy for Refugees Lesvos adventure has come to its end. We are a little tired but very satisfied with the result, especially after the difficulties we had to face in the first weeks of our time in Lesvos.
A little recap of our last week in Lesvos
After one and a half week in Lesvos, we found a good place to install our PV system: on the roof of the school in Kara Tepe refugee camp. By that time, we had one week left on the island, so no time to lose. We started right away with constructing the mounting. For the construction of the mounting and its welding on the isobox roof, we had help from a refugee of the camp. It took about three days to finish the mounting, after which we could start installing the PV-panels. Within two days all the PV-panels were mounted on the roof and shone brightly under the hot and bright sun of Greece.
The work on the roof was hot and sweaty and we had to avoid working during the hottest hours of the day. We started early and finished late, when the heat was just a little less overwhelming.
After the panels were mounted, we drew the cables and placed them in pipes over the roof. All the installations like the inverter, charge controller and batteries were safely secured in a metal box, to make sure only indicated people will have access to the system.
Movement on the Ground has experience with PV systems and will be responsible for the maintenance of our system, and collaborate with volunteering refugees for this.
The last two days of our stay, we worked hard and late to finish it in time, and we almost did it. It is as good as ready, only the loads of the school and some batteries still need to be connected to the system. Luckily we arranged all the final details and the people there will be able to do this for us.
Kara Tepe and Movement on the Ground
Kara Tepe is a refugee camp close to Mytilini with 1500 residents, of which a lot are families and children. Compared to Moria (7000+ residents), Kara Tepe is a peaceful and well-organized camp. As the refugees say it: Moria bad! Kara Tepe nice. The people live in Isoboxes and share the sanitation, it is a little bit like a campsite. Most of the time the atmosphere is friendly and the residents greet you with a smile. All the children play and run around the camp telling us: "Teacher look! Look at me!", when they climb in a tree and hang upside down.
Movement On the Ground is doing a lot of work in Kara Tepe. The camp is supervised by the municipality but a lot of different NGOs provide the different services like medical help, food distribution, education, activities and entertainment like sport or creative workshops.
The coming year
For the next year we will compile a new team that will continue Energy for Refugees. We have made good contacts in Lesvos for new projects with well established NGOs.
In September, we will pick up where we left and make the preparations for the new team.
During our stay in Lesvos, we had the chance to visit the observatory location and coworking space of Healing Lesvos which is located in Birds Bay, Petra. This area provides a good location for researchers, students or tourists who wants to contribute to Mission Blue. Mission Blue is working on the ocean health with volunteers to protect the natural habitat and to work towards an island in which every resident of the island, regardless of where they come from, live in a healthy environment.
The natural area laying in front of the coworking space is chosen for its special abundance of migratory species, significant historical-cultural value and economic importance to the community. This “Hope Spot” has the potential to reverse the negative impact caused by the increasing population and waste amount in the island.
We also had the chance to see the Blue Heart which is created by the students from the New Village School in San Francisco (NVS). Once on the island, they worked with the local high-school in Petra to assemble the blue heart and placed it near the Avalaki Hope Spot. The blue heart symbolizes the healing of ocean and marine life. It will travel from Lesvos to another school in a different country to spread the message and raise awareness.
At the same time, Healing Lesvos is interested in ideas of sustainable energy such as a solar powered ocean monitoring system, biomass energy from sea grass or other creative ideas!