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The VIDA Blog

Public Radio Interview for Solarize Ghana

Monday, June 24, 2013

Listen to this clip of VIDA's Executive Director David Levine getting interviewed by Jerome McDonnell on Worldview about the Solarize Ghana Project on the best public radio station in the land WBEZ Chicago (600,000 listeners/week). We hope the added publicity will help us reach our ultimate project fundraising goal! http://m.soundcloud.com/wbez-worldview/road-tripping-across-ghana-for/


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Saying bon voyage to the SolBus on Summer Solstice

Saturday, June 22, 2013

(Carly Lettero text / David Lettero photos)

Yesterday was the summer solstice, which of course is the longest day of the year, so it seemed like an apropos day for the SolBus to arrive at the international shipping port in Bayonne, New Jersey.

International shipping regulations require vehicles to be empty when they ship, so as soon as Dave Lettero arrived at the port in Jersey, he had to unpack all of the Solarize Ghana gear into a shipping container.  Once the shipping container was locked and signed off on, Dave drove the empty bus to another huge parking lot and got in line with hundreds of other vehicles that are ready to make the trans-Atlantic voyage.  We are hoping there will be enough space on the next boat, leaving June 24, for the SolBus. We’ll keep you posted! 

SolBus at the international shipping port in Bayonne, New Jersey with the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower in the background. 

Dave Lettero with the fully packed SolBus before he drive it to the port. 

At the port all of the Solarize Ghana gear was emptied into a shipping container through the back door of the bus. 

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Don’t Skimp on the ‘Mallow

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The SolBus is headed to the shipping port tomorrow, and the VIDA crew is busy filling out shipping paperwork, labeling boxes, battening down the hatches, and getting ready for the SolBus Shipping Celebration at Mequito Grille tonight at Mesquito Grille in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.  

It was an incredible journey from Oregon to Nevada to Nebraska to Illinois to Ohio to Pennsylvania. Our favorite part was meeting all of you and sharing the Solarize Ghana story. We’ve posted your photos on our Facebook page and featured some of them in the Don't Skimp on the 'Mallow video. 

In about a month, we’ll reunite with the SolBus in Ghana and with our partners at Disaster Volunteers of Ghana (DIVOG). We’ll be bringing the “I Love Solarize Ghana” collage with us to Ghana, and we’d love to add your photo! We invite you to make your own sign, take a photo, and send it to us info@thevida.org

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Dance-a-thon 6th Graders Tour the SolBus in PA

Monday, June 17, 2013
Students and Teachers at Butler Elementary School got to check out the Solbus today in Chalfont, PA. The students took a tour of the bus and got to ask questions about technology and the process of shipping the bus. The 6th graders at Butler helped raise money by having a dance-a-thon. Their proceeds will support soalr installations on two of the six schools.

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Next Stop: Penn State

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thanks to everyone in Chicago who came out to visit the SolBus and support Solarize Ghana! We'll be adding more of your awesome photos to the Facebook photo album

The SolBus will be at Penn State on Saturday, June 16 for Father’s Day. Come visit us at Otto’s Pub and Brewery between 1:00 and 3:00. Then the bus will take a special trip to the Center for Sustainability at Penn State, Davis Lettero’s alma mater and the place he built his first off-grid solar array in 2004 (featured in this Penn State News Story in 2005). 

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Come Visit the SolBus in Illinois Tomorrow

Thursday, June 13, 2013

VIDA’s friends in Illinois are hosting a fundraiser for Solarize Ghana tomorrow night (Friday, June 14). We’d love to see you if you live in the area! Stop by for a drink and a tour of the SolBus. We’ll be at Tracy's Tavern in Clarendon Hills from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. (401 55th Street).

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From Germany to Ghana - Solar Panels Are On Their Way!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Solar panels are the heart of our Solarize Ghana project. In a few months, the panels will be providing clean, renewable energy to six schools and four medical clinics in rural Ghana.

While VIDA has done a number of small-scale solar projects in West Africa, this is the first time we are shipped pallets of panels to West Africa. We’ve learned a lot about international shipping the past few months thanks to a few incredible, patient people and companies.

We are sending out a huge THANK YOU to SolarWorld Germany for donating all of the solar panels to the Solarize Ghana project and graciously storing the panels for us in Germany while we learned the ropes of international shipping. 


Thanks also to our friend Johannes Liem who spent an evening translating the SolarWorld donation agreement from German to English.

And thanks to James Lovell from DHL who patiently worked with us to make sure the panels would arrive safely in Ghana. And finally, thanks to our partner organization, Disaster Volunteers of Ghana for arranging the pick-up and storage of the panels once they get to Ghana.

In less than two months, the solar panels and all the energy they can harness will be in the hands of those who need them most.   

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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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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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