The sun is hot and blinding during the day in Guinea Bissau. The children of the village are staring with surprise at the metal mesh that is rising up rapidly in the dry meadow next to their homes. But then when night falls, everything, the market the school and the games come to a halt in the community. The few activities that do continue do so thanks to oil lamps or to polluting and costly electricity generators.
In the rural village of Bambadinca, an isolated community, the NGO TESE is completing a photovoltaic and accumulator plant to provide families, almost all dependent on candles and traditional fuels for lighting, with electricity. “Bambadinca sta claro” in creole means exactly Bambadinca is illuminated (ha la luce)!
“I’ll be really happy when electricity finally reaches our home” said Lurdes Gomes, a housewife. “ At night my children do their homework with candles, but when the electricity comes they’ll be able to study with more light and for longer. With a television in the house I won’t worry so much, knowing that they are with me and not out in the dark. A fridge will give me a little income from selling ice creams and cold water and I’ll use some of it to pay the electricity bill”.
For Linda Nhima Candè, president of the ACDB, the local association which will manage the photovoltaic panels and the batteries to provide electricity 24 hours a day, “it will be a great challenge ... these types of installation don’t exist in the country yet and that is why we are training specialist technicians to operate them properly. The electricity prices will be set to make sure we recover the costs of building the plant, but at the same time to reduce spending on energy by families”.
The dream is finally coming true. The plant is already in operation today, supplying hundreds of customers and others are being connected right now. Consumers only pay for the electricity that they consume and they are spending less than before. When the whole grid is complete it will supply around 1.000 families with electricity. Within a few months life in the community will have undergone a revolution. Finally there will be electricity for everyone!TESE NGO