a mini lesson in energy and art

Welcome back to Bagatai, everybody! This week, Nimba shares tales from this year's kids' arts program. In the program, children explored the power of the sun's energy through a fun art project and received a solar-powered light and hard-to-come-by school and art supplies, thanks to some amazing donations from Nimba's community of supporters. The art project turned even more educational as everyone present (from age 4 to 30) put their French language skills to the test. On y va! 
First, we talked about three different ways we get energy from the sun. The first is food energy: energy from the sun is transformed by plants into things we can eat. Next, we talked about how the sun's energy can make electricity, which they already know about from the solar panels from Nimba's installation project last year. Finally, we discussed how we can also use the energy from the sun to make art.
Bagatai's residents can expect a few hours of grid power each day, but it is unreliable and doesn't always come in time for study hours. While parents have a few solar lanterns, these are often needed in the kitchen or other areas and children don't necessarily have easy access to lights to study by. This particular solar light and charger is kids-only to ensure they have a little light to study by.

light, water, action!

Some of us seemed skeptical at first about making art with sunlight, but we went ahead and collected leaves and objects we liked and arranged them on photosensitive paper.
Once the paper changed colors, we submerged in water for twenty seconds (counted by everyone en francais, thank you very much!)
We then laid them to dry in the bright, subtropical sun. After a few minutes, our designs were ready for decorating, aka "glitter madness."
As you can see, the final products were sparkling and lovely, just like the smiles.
After the projects, students from age 4 to 20 received notebooks, pencils and pens to accompany their studies, as well as colored pencils, markers, crayons, and other art supplies they can use for their creative energy. "Bon cadeau," ("good gift") they said, and we quite agree!
Thanks to our donors, Nimba was able to make an additonal donation of study supplies to a local grade school -- named for our very own Youssouf Koumbassa! The response to the school and art supplies was so wonderful, we plan to make it part of every Nimba trip.
Tune in next week for a glimpse of the construction process at Bentouryah, the future home of the Nimba Center. A tout a l'heure, and enjoy your weekend!
Today, Nimba lifts off for Conakry, Guinea for our first solar installation and information gathering endeavor on the ground in West Africa. Armed with donated solar equipment and the support of our donor community, Fronsy, Annie and renewable energy design engineer David Gibbs will arrive at Youssouf's compound, Bagatai, in Nongo, a quiet fishing area of Conakry, on Thursday, December 29th. There we'll spend 3 weeks conducting solar energy education workshops, installing our solar modules, conducting a site assessment at Bentrouyah (the eventual site for the Nimba Center) and conducting research in available resources, contacts, and to ascertain what the needs are and how we can best meet them. Concurrently with this trip is Youssouf Koumbassa's Annual Dance & Drum Workshop, where dancers from around the world come to practice Guinea dance at its source. Together we'll travel to various villages in western Guinea doing research, making connections, and, of course, dancing!