After spending three months in Haiti one of the big projects we realized is important for building our non-profit organization is providing consistent electricity, clean water and communications at our mission base in Pignon. One of the most cost-effective and sustainable ways to do this is through solar energy. Currently, the church, school, orphanage, health clinic and mission house in Pignon run on a generator system that eats gas at a rate of $5/gallon/hour. We realized that one of Haiti's greatest assets is the sun. The great thing about solar energy is that once you have the equipment, the use of the sun is free. We are in the process of fundraising to put in solar panels and a satellite at the mission base. The price tag on this project is $18,000.
Solar panels would help give electricity throughout the mission base 24 hours a day instead of just a few hours that we can pay for running the generator. This would open the doors for the education in the schools to use better resources as well as in the health clinic. The children in the orphanage and any mission teams/visitors to the mission house would also be able to have clean filtered water and electricity. Our long-term vision would be to develop income-generating projects like a cybercafe or a community garden on the property to provide jobs.
The exciting part is that we have already raised $10,750 with the help of 25 of our friends who ran the Two Cities Marathon/Half Marathon on Nov. 7. This team of friends from Fresno, California, started training in mid-August and raising pledges jog-a-thon style for their run. They also helped us get corporate sponsors whose logos were featured on our team shirts.
Ericlee helped train the group, developing a daily workout schedule and organizing weekly meet-ups for workouts and long runs. This is a fun way for Ericlee to use his gifts in coaching and encouraging people as well as sharing his passion for running and fitness. We were blessed to have many friends run for the second year in a row as well as some new participants.
Our friends Troy and Allison, who have traveled with us to Haiti in the past, ran the half marathon together. Troy's company, Digital Attic, was also our main corporate sponsor for the fundraiser.
My dear friend, Terry Rios, was our only team member who tackled the full marathon. 26.2 is no easy feat but Terry finished with style - and a whole fan club of kids, friends and family cheering her on. She also raised a large chunk for the project and achieved a personal goal by completing the marathon. We were so proud of her and the whole team! They are a gift to us and to Christian Friendship Ministries!
*If you or your organization would be interested in giving toward our "Remember Haiti Solar Power Project," you can donate through our web site. You might also consider joining our "Remember Haiti Cycling Team" that will be participating in the California Classic this May or signing up for our Half Marathon team for November 2012.