The rainy season has started for full in the Ivory Coast, which we experienced first hand the day we were going to visit the village we have chosen for our first project. Godjiboué is a rather big village located in the south-west of the Ivory Coast. The plan was to take a bus and after that motorbike, approximately 5 hours on the road. We arrived in Godjiboué after 10 hours. While the rainy season is good for agriculture, it often has negative effects on the roads which can be impossible to drive on after hours and hours of heavy rain. But with good drivers and a couple of pauses on the way, we enjoyed the journey and arrived safely in Godjiboué in time for dinner.
Our first meeting was with the chief of the village. This meeting is important to explain the essence of the project and what we wish to do. We focused on asking most questions to understand the current reality and challenges in the village and also what exactly the inhabitants want and need in their everyday life.
For the rest of the morning we continued meeting the different people of the village to discuss and learn. They told us their stories of which sources of energy they currently use. The most popular solution is actually solar panels, however, the product being sold comes with a battery that only lasts for a maximum of 3 months. That means that every three months, they have to buy a new big battery and throw away the one that no longer functions. This is not only damaging the environment, but also is not a sustainable solution. Other solutions include torches and loading stations where you hand in your phone to be charged for a set amount of money.
I was told that the street lights that are everywhere in the village have actually never worked. They were set up and characterize the image of Godjiboué, but due to political indifference they have currently been in the city for xx years but never given light to the inhabitants.
Godjiboué is a village of agriculture. Most inhabitants here have their own small farming areas where they harvest cocoa, mango, avocado, papaya and more. They make enough for their living, but most cannot afford the one-time payment that solar energy requires. The children go to school, but often cannot study at night due to the lack of reading light.
Seeing first hand the need and the desire of the people in Godjjboué we are confident that the project of enabling access to light will not only be appreciated, but also develop the society and make an even better life for the people in Godjiboué.