Vision Becomes Reality
Ten years ago in a discussion for developing reliable communication options for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in remote sections of Africa, Mr. Louis Casey, an electrical engineer, encouraged Sr. Lorraine Connell, our General Treasurer, to pursue this possibility of an African Photovoltaic Project (APP). To provide a reliable and consistent source of electricity and clean water would alter significantly the lives of men, women and children living in poverty. Louis advised Sr. Lorraine to use resources for expanding the communications infrastructure in order to address life needs for our Sisters and their ministries. During this anniversary year, we celebrate the success of this project and certain milestones. We marvel at the wonder of light, water and communications for the people. We remember some crisis moments with transportation delays at sea ports and obstacles on the roads. However, we dream of what can happen when vision and resources join in bringing hope for a better life.
Conceived from Sr. Lorraine’s vision of connecting our Sisters in Africa to places beyond their isolated villages, the APP began to take shape in 2003. Today, the dream has become a reality in Fugar and Aukunanaw, Nigeria and in Kitenda, Lemfu, Ngidinga and Pelende, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with wonderful life changes and options. Convents, schools and clinics/hospitals in two countries are now experiencing life with electricity for lighting, refrigeration, water purification and communication. Rooms set up with basic technology equipment in these ministries provide access to the Internet for teachers, primary and secondary classes as well as health care personnel. The Congo compounds organized these facilities by using available materials. Now, the wider community also benefits from technology at these four sites.
Our Sisters and co-workers now living and working in stable and sustainable environments have a brighter future. Now we dream together of expanding this miracle for other remote sites. We are planning additional projects in the Congo and Nigeria. We have invited local and international partners to share the dream. Working together, we aim to assist whole communities in isolated locations in Congo and struggling populations in urban and rural areas in Nigeria to emerge and participate as equals in the world community. We rejoice with those Photovoltaic sites, functioning well where the Sisters and people are enjoying their accomplishments. We welcome you to celebrate with us our 10th anniversary and to help us in expanding the APP dream into a wider reality.