Phebe Update JULY 2017 A lot has happened since our last update in May. The Liberian applicants for intensive solar training have been selected. They have filed their visa applications and have appointments with the U.S. Embassy in August. We are optimistic that all will receive visas. The training will take place October 16 – 27 at RREAL in Backus/Pine River MN. We already have homestays arranged for 2 of them, but are still looking for homestays for the other two, so please let us know if you are able to host!
The Women of the ELCA Triennial Convention and Gathering took place July 11-16. Mary Jo Mettler had the privilege of speaking to the voting members at the convention. Her talk was warmly received. RREAL was given exhibit space at the gathering where BJ Allen and Mary Jo had the opportunity to talk to attendees about Phebe Hospital Project and the upcoming Curran Hospital project. The solar powered robots were a big hit, particularly with Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. We were also very blessed to be a recipient of a portion of the convention and gathering offerings. Thank you to the Churchwide Women of the ELCA board and the staff for this support.
Planning is now beginning for the formal ribbon cutting at Phebe Hospital. It is scheduled to take place November 16th. In addition to the ribbon cutting, there will be solar oven demonstrations in several communities and a trip to Curran Hospital to meet the folks there and get a better idea of the conditions and challenges the hospital and school of nursing are facing.
Fundraising for Curran Hospital and Nursing School is the next big challenge. We are excited to announce that we have a big jump start this time. RREAL has been awarded a corporate grant donation from First Solar for 889 solar panels for Curran. Curran has been supported by Lutheran women for over 100 years. It is a 112-bed hospital that is struggling financially. A solar electric system will substantially reduce energy costs and even potentially allow the hospital to sell power to area businesses and residents, creating a revenue stream to help with other costs.
February 2017 Next progress report: July 2017
“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia
This project is a manifestation of President Sirleaf’s quote above. A faith walk from the very beginning, indeed, an army of believers brought it here to this point!
And thanks to the incredible support of over $400,000 from more than 600 individuals, 400 ELCA congregations, conferences, and synods from west coast to east coast, Global Health Ministries, Wheat Ridge Ministries, the ELCA Churchwide Global Missions office, National Geographic Society, and countless additional supporters, the dream of bringing solar power to Phebe Hospital and School of Nursing is being realized!!! From Liberian concert fundraisers in the Twin Cities Metro, MN to speaking engagements in the Grand Canyon Synod, from ice cream socials in Pine City, MN to various fundraisers in New Jersey, this project is a living manifestation of the unstoppable, caring, powerful, Bold Women of the ELCA today.
Two containers of components, materials, and supplies have been shipped, and the team from RREAL will be on a plane on March 20th to begin the 100kW installation in collaboration with 8 local partners who will gain a paid hands-on learning opportunity in installing solar energy systems. The first container has arrived at Phebe Hospital and is being off-loaded on February 10th, 2017. The second container is expected at the beginning of March.
Container #1 pulling out. Global Health Ministries Operations Director Scott Lien says, "It's a sin to ship air," and they fill every square millimeter with medical supplies
Container #1 being packed by volunteers from Zion Lutheran Church in
Anoka, MN, and Global Health Ministries staff
A Merry Band of volunteers helps Global Health Ministries staff load
Container #2 packed! Global Health Ministries once again crammed every available cavity with medical supplies for three hospitals in Liberia
Come see us at the Women of the ELCA Triennial Convention hosted in Minnesota this summer!
The people who are making this possible:
And the RREAL team members heading out on the installation include Ben Butcher, Construction Manager; Michael Hills, Licensed Electrician; BJ Allen, Project Manager; Joel Lindstrom, Master Electrician, and Jason Edens, Licensed Contractor and Director.
450,000 people in rural Liberia depend on Phebe Hospital as their only access to health care. Reliable energy supply is necessary for quality health care delivery. In Liberia, where less than 1% of the population has access to the electricity grid, generating needed power at rural hospitals literally is a life-or-death scenario.
The Project The Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have partnered with the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) to propose the construction of a photovoltaic solar array to serve the energy needs of Phebe Hospital. The PV for Phebe project aims to realize cash payoff of the installation costs within five years, with further savings expected up to and through the system’s 30-year lifespan. By investing funds in a photovoltaic microgrid, Phebe Hospital and its staff will not only be empowered to achieve self-reliance through solar power, but serve as a powerful model for rebuilding critical infrastructure in a resilient manner.
… RESOLVED, that the Northeastern Minnesota Synod endorse the Phebe Hospital solar energy project, and encourage the intentional efforts of each congregation throughout the synod to raise awareness and funding for this project in the month of August; and be if further
In response to this Resolution we offer valuable information on this project <www.skipthegrid.org> and ask your support.
To make a donation click the button below. It will take you our secure paypal site to donate. You can choose a one time donation or a recurring donation. All donations welcomed and happily accepted.
Supporting Solar Power for Phebe Hospital in Liberia - how your congregation can raise awareness and funding -
Resources Join the campaign! Help us bring dependable and sustainable energy to Phebe Hospital. Click on links below to access resources and spread the word. Click here to watch a video about the project.