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Knowledge Mosaic Celebrates Send-off of Solar Panels to Nepal

June 21, 2011

On Friday, Knowledge Mosaic employees crowded in the parking lot and watched as a pile of hand-made wooden crates were loaded into the back of a van. At first glance, the cargo gave no impression of deserving such attention—and indeed the truck driver pointed out that rarely had he enjoyed such an audience while operating a pallet truck.

But as with much in life, it’s what’s inside that counts, and inside these crates are the solar panels and auxiliary equipment that will soon provide power to a computer lab in Shikha, Nepal, helping some 350 public school students access the internet—and the education, communication, and empowerment that comes with it. Solar Energy for Shikha Higher Secondary School was conceived by Tilak Pun, a native of Shikha and a programmer here at Knowledge Mosaic; it’s being put into action with the support and ingenuity of Chief Technology Officer Clif Swiggett, who will, along with his family, accompany Tilak to Nepal this summer to install this equipment.

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The gang has already been busy: they successfully constructed a small-scale system right here on our office roof, testing the power by plugging in a Nepalese electric grill and hosting a barbeque.

And last week, Clif and Tilak constructed and loaded custom-built crates, which hold some 1,400 pounds of equipment. They will travel by container ship to Bangkok, where they are expected to arrive by July 23rd; from there, they will be flown to Katmandu. They will be met by Tilak and the Swiggetts, who will take a less circuitous route by flying the 7,000 miles from Seattle to Nepal. And that’s when the real work begins: with the help of a couple dozen students and several mules, they must carry all their gear from the nearest trail head up to Shikha, at an elevation of almost 7,000 feet.

So it’s no wonder that the rest of us crowded around last week to be, in some small way, a part of this momentous sendoff. It must be admitted that some of us—I’m not naming names—waved goodbye to the crates as they were driven away; the first wave of a larger envoy in which we are all greatly invested.

Keep up with Tilak, Clif, and the Solar for Shikha project here on our blog by tracking the Nepal tag; view our press release here; or contact us.

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