'While the sun is shining, bask in it!' Malawi Proverb
Emergency Solar Suitcase Project
In 2009, one of our Board members, was inspired by an article in CALIFORNIA magazine about a Solar Suitcase developed by Dr. Laura Stachel, and her husband, solar engineer, Hal Aronson, for use in rural African hospitals where electricity is often intermittent or non-existent.
In conversations with Dr. Chirangi, the Shirati Hospital Medical Director, we had heard about the difficulties in emergency deliveries and surgeries at night due to the unreliable power grid, so we contacted Dr. Stachel's organization, We Care Solar, to learn more. In May of 2010, we obtained a Solar Suitcase and presented it to Dr. Chirangi during his visit to California. He was delighted and reported that within days after his return to Shirati Hospital, the bright lights of the Solar Suitcase allowed him to save the life of a mother with postpartum hemorrhaging, during a difficult delivery! Thus was born a partnership that endures to this day.
We Care Solar has expanded greatly since then, and kindly offered a second suitcase to Dr. Chirangi during his 2011 visit and a third in 2013. The hospital staff has been able to perform nighttime deliveries, emergency surgeries, and even charge their cell phones during intermittent electricity shortages. Dr. Chirangi puts it best: "With the Solar Suitcase, I can proceed with the surgery. It gives me confidence because I know we can complete the procedure".