The African Solar Electric Light Foundation received a phone call at 11: am from a 76 year old lady, whose son almost died when they had a power outage in their neighborhood in San Francisco, California.
Her 33 year old son had a heart attack a couple of years ago and is suffering from congestive heart failure and ischemic cardiomyopathy, which prevents his left ventricle from adequately supplying blood to the rest of his body. This condition requires a heart transplant. His family has provided him with a HeartMate 1 machine so that his kidneys, lungs and liver could function properly until the hospital is able to find him a new heart. The device essentially replaces all the functions of his native heart. A computer controller, power pack, and reserve power pack remain outside his body and require constant energy for the HeartMate 1 to function. Some models let a person wear these units on a belt or harness to enable the patient move around. The power packs have to be recharged at night or when the batteries run out of energy.
When I heard about the power failure, I drove from San Jose to San Francisco to meet this family to discuss how African Solar Electric Light Foundation could help.
I turned to my community and began by sending out Emails and letters to raise money to get a portable off-grid solar system. The response was very poor. I was discouraged to continue the project but each time I reflected on the gentleman’s situation, I was worried that something serious would happen to him because of power failure.
A 300 watt solar off-grid back-up emergency power has been installed on this family’s residence in San Francisco and the Son of the 76 year old Lady is safe in case of a any future power outage. The system is a symbol of determination in the face of adversity. Solar electricity is a dependable solution to emergency, life threatening power needs. The African Solar Electric Light Foundation and its founders are committed to using off-grid battery back-up solar electric systems to improve the lives of people dependant on power locally and abroad in rural Africa.