Week 9 progress update - Fakaofo Atoll (Tokelau)
By Dean Parchomchuk
Image: School children at TREP site
It has been a very busy past couple weeks here on Tokelau so blog updates have fallen behind. But we are proud to announce that the first system is operational and providing power to the residents of Fakaofo! It is inspiring to be in the generator shed and hear nothing but the local birds, knowing that power is still flowing.
It is common here with any new infrastructure that the village must bless the system. On Wednesday this week we were invited to the celebration ceremony along with the entire village for the opening of the solar power system. It was inspirational to see the school children, local residents, and village elders all come together on the TREP site.
Several speeches were made and beautiful gifts of weaving and carving were presented to us. Finally one of the oldest members of the Taupulega walked over to the array with the aid of a massive walking stick, let go a victory cry and smashed a young coconut on the foundation of the solar array then held it up for all to see the flowing coconut juice. The system was blessed! This was followed by singing and dancing by the adults and then by the school children in their red and yellow uniforms. The only way to describe the singing was uplifting. Finally a massive meal of fish, coconut taro mash, chop suey and homemade donuts was served to all. It was amazing to be part of this event.
The next challenge lies closely ahead. We are scheduled to depart for Nukunonu on Tuesday where we start from the beginning again on the second system.