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The VIDA Blog

SolBus on Its Way to the Biggest Little City

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

(Carly Lettero / text and photos)

Dave and I spent last night packing the SolBus for the cross-country trip to the shipping port in Baltimore. We (mostly Dave) have been working on retrofitting the bus for nearly a year, and it was bittersweet to say goodbye this morning. I got up early to sip a latte at the bus table before heading to work, and then Dave left to drive to Reno—speaking of Reno, I’m so excited to tell you all about the great Solarize Ghana events we have planned. If you live anywhere nearby, we’d love to see you!

Check out the Solarize Ghana Reno Schedule: 

Thursday, June 6th            

  • When: 4:00 - 8:00 pm           
  • Where: Farmers' Market - We'll be parked near Great Basin Brewing Co., 846 Victorian Avenue (Sparks) 

Friday, June 7th             

  • When: 5:00 - 7:00 pm
  • Where: Happy Hour at Craft Wine & Beer, 22 Martin Street. (Reno)

Friday, June 7th 

  • When: 7:00 pm
  • Where: Across the Street from Reno Public House, 33 St Lawrence Avenue (Reno)

Saturday, June 8th           

Saturday, June 8th  
  • When: 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm             
  • Where: St. James Infirmary, 445 California Avenue (Reno) - This is a Solarize Ghana Fundraising Event! Support the project and receive a souvenir VIDA Bracelet that entitles you to many drink specials inside St. James Infirmary. 

Sunday, June 9th           

Sunday, June 9th

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First Stop: Last Thursday

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

We had a great time taking the SolBus to Portland for Last Thursday. Many thanks to old and new friends who helped us feel at home on Alberta Street. And special thanks to Handsome Dave and Wes Success of the Portland Zoo Bombers for putting on a bike derby, drawing a great crowd, and inspiring the most epic dance party the SolBus had ever seen.  

We added some great photos to the collage of people who support Solarize Ghana. We can’t wait to bring your smiling faces with us to West Africa!

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8 Ways You Can Make The World a Better Place

Friday, May 31, 2013

(Carly Lettero / text and photos)

During the ten-week Solarize Ghana project, our team of West Africans and Americans will travel through Ghana in the SolBus and install off-grid, solar-electric systems on six schools and four medical clinics in rural communities that would not otherwise have electricity. No matter how you support Solarize Ghana, your contribution will help bring clean, renewable energy to thousands of people in West Africa.

Here are 8 ways you can make the world a better place:

  1. Donate Online: Every dollar gets us one step closer to creating a brighter future for kids in Ghana. Whether you donate $5 for a light switch or $5,000 to support a community solar array, your contribution is 100% tax deductible.
  2. Invite the SolBus to Visit Your City: We’d love to visit you on our cross-county journey. We can work with you to arrange a SolBus stop at your local Farmers’ Market or a Solarize Ghana Happy Hour at your favorite bar. 
  3. Shop Our Solarize Ghana Gift Registry: Wedding season is upon us, and we are thinking of the sweet union of communities in need and clean, renewable energy. Help us celebrate this match made in heaven by shopping our Solarize Ghana gift registry. 
  4. Transfer Your Delta Skymiles to Volunteers for International Development and Aid: Your frequent flyer miles will help get the Solarize Ghana team to West Africa. Delta charges a $30 fee to tranfer miles plus $0.01 per mile. You can transfer up to 30,000 miles to our account at a time. (Skymiles Account #: 9004529971 / Name: David Levine / Email: davidlevine2000@hotmail.com).
  5. Dedicate a SolBus Seat: Come with us to Ghana—at least in spirit.  When you dedicate a SolBus seat to someone you love, we’ll install a dedication plaque on your SolBus seat. Get yours today! There are only 10 seats available! Seat dedications begin at $300. 
  6. Shop Thirty-One in June and 25% of Sales go to Solarize Ghana: The Thirty-one summer catalogue is here, and Thirty-one Director Amy Kovats will donate 25% of all her sales to Solarize Ghana in June. 
  7. Volunteer with Solarize Ghana: The SolBus is taking an epic cross-county journey from Corvallis, Oregon to Las Vegas, Nevada to Doylestown, Pennsylvania from June 1 to June 15. The SolBus driver and VIDA Solar Project Coordinator, David Lettero, will be driving the bus, but we don’t want him to do it alone. If you’d like to see the US from the window of the SolBus and help coordinate fundraising events along the way, please tell us a little about yourself by clicking here.
  8. Help us get the word out by clicking one of the SHARE links at the end of this blog post. We thank you. People who are going to get renewable energy for the rest of their lives thank you. 

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Solarize Ghana Loves Corvallis

Thursday, May 30, 2013

(Carly Lettero / text and photo)

Thanks to everyone who came by the Corvallis Farmers’ Market to support Solarize Ghana a few weeks ago! We look forward to sharing your photos with everyone in Ghana. It was a special surprise to see Wilbur, who we bought the bus from in 2009.

If you missed us at the market, you can still support the project with an online, tax-deductable donation here: http://www.razoo.com/story/Solarize-Ghana

We <3 you too!

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Last Thursday in Portland, Oregon: Come Visit the SolBus on May 30th

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Before the SolBus begins its journey to the east coast, it is taking one last trip in the Pacific Northwest. We’ll be at Last Thursday in Portland, Oregon on May 30th. Come over and say hi! You can check out the inside of the roving solar workshop, see Chris Rice’s murals in person, and get your picture taken for the Solarize Ghana collage. We’ll bring the collage (with your photo!) to West Africa to show our Ghanaian friends how many Americans have pitched in to bring clean, renewable energy to their schools and medical clinics. (Last Thursday is on Alberta Street from 15th to 30th Avenue from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.)

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Glass and Steel Instead of Brick and Mortar

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
(Carly Lettero / text and photo)

We got to test out the roving Solarize Ghana office on our recent trip to Seattle. The office is inside the SolBus, but it is fully equipped with a wireless hotspot for internet access, outlets powered by the bus's solar-electric system, seats with storage, and a table that can be converted into a bed. David Lettero, VIDA’s Solar Project Coordinator, drove the SolBus while Katie Sonnie, Chairperson of the VIDA Board, and David Levine, Founding Director of VIDA, managed an afternoon work session.  

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Read All About It: Solarize Ghana in The News

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

(Carly Lettero / text and photos)

Solarize Ghana was recently featured in three news articles.  

The Story Next Door: Sun bus to Africa in Corvallis Gazette Times (April 02, 2013)

SolBus: Corvallis Residents’ Mission to ‘Solarize Ghana’ in the Corvallis Advocate (Feb 28, 2013)

All Aboard the Solar Bus to Ghana in Life@OSU (April 3, 2013)

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How many people can sleep in the SolBus?

Monday, May 27, 2013

(Carly Lettero / text and photo)
After our Solarize Ghana launch party in Seattle, we road tested the bus on a trip through the Columbia Gorge to Spokane. We'll be camping in tents during most of our journey in Ghana, but we designed the bus so we can sleep inside if we need to. It was a comfy night for five people, but it will be close quarters if all ten of us need to sleep inside.  

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Launch Party in Seattle with Mosaic Company

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thanks to Mosaic Company for a great Seattle Launch Party! Our first solar concert was performed by Celestine. The VIDA Team is rolling across beautiful Washington State in the SolBus this weekend. We'll be announcing our US tour stops soon! 

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A Great Day To Make A Difference!

Sunday, April 28, 2013
by Kathryn Sonnie

It is a great day to make a difference! Over 500 students at Buckingham Elementary in Bucks County, PA are walking 3 miles to raise money to build a school in Liberia today. While ninety-one 6th grade students at Butler Elementary in Chalfont, PA are holding a dance-a-thon to raise money to install solar power on a school in Ghana. They are creating the change they wish to see in the world.

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