Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back again

So after a year away, I'm finally back in India!

I'm planning to work for the next two years for SELCO, an amazing NGO which I spent last summer with (you can read about my time there in older blog entries). I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into the project and learning to live in such a different culture. It will surely be tough at times but I feel so fortunate to get this opportunity and I’m excited to see what this chapter has in store.

Operating as a social enterprise, SELCO's main activity is selling solar-power systems to people without electricity, although they've recently been looking into ways they can expand their work. I'll be part of "SELCO Labs", the R&D department where I was last summer, looking at ways to help poor rural farmers gain access to useful equipment and machinery. I'll also be spending some of my time working on small wind turbines and seeing how SELCO can include these in their solar systems. –Should be really interesting stuff and with the potential to help a vast number of people.

As the work involves lots of interaction with farmers, SELCO Labs is based out in rural Karnataka, in a town called Ujire. There are two other young engineers from the UK who I'll be working/living with for the first six months, volunteering through Engineers Without Borders. Tommy has been there since July and Roger arrives in October. I'll try to introduce the rest of the office to you later on.

I'm in Bangalore at the moment, the capital of Karnataka and home of SELCO Headquarters.  Before I can head on to Ujire I need to register with the Foreign Regional Registry Office which I'm trying to sort all my bits of paperwork for at the moment but it sounds like they can be even more difficult than the visa people! I'm hoping to have everything together by tomorrow so I'll head in for the first time and see what happens...

While in Bangalore, I'm staying with David Simpson. He’s working for Student Alpha here and contacted me when he ended up hearing on facebook (by some bizarre fluke!) that I was moving to India. It has been such a blessing to have a proper base and someone to stay with and I've got to meet a lot of his friends too which has been great.

There's so much more to say but I hope that gives you a reasonable idea of what up to. Again, please keep in touch and don't forget to subscribe on the right-hand side if you want to hear when I add future blog entries!

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