This summer, with a group of other volunteers, I had an opportunity to go for a project in South America. We focused on building and installing a wind turbine in an electricity-deprived village called Nuevo Manzanilla, Peru.
The endeavor started in Trujillo where we attended 5 weeks of workshops and started making all essential elements for our wind turbine with the help of WindAid – a non-profit organization providing disadvantaged Peruvian communities with wind turbines.
Coils put in a stator mould that are being connected together.
One of the three blades still being kept in a mould.
Painting all turbine elements white.
Taking care of electronics.
Although I couldn’t wait for the volunteering project to come, and I was very excited about visiting such a beautiful place in South America, I had some concerns, as well. Mostly, it was the language barrier that made me wonder if I would be able to live and work for a few weeks in such a different place than Europe or even North America. Nevertheless, even with those doubts, I believe you should use every project as an opportunity to acquire knowledge. Before leaving I had started learning Spanish on my own. Having these basics and having continued studying with my team mates during the stay in Peru I managed to go through the trip without any significant linguistic difficulties.
Definitely, it was the most constructive and enjoyable summer I have ever had. I learned A LOT. The project realization gave me a deeper insight into technical aspects of building wind turbines; how kinetic energy from the wind is turned into an electrical one, and what conditions need to be supplied in order to have it happened? What size and proportion are best for blades and how many coils should we use to achieve a specific output power for our wind turbine? What power the batteries should have? Even though I could have known answers to those questions in theory, the project gave them a special meaning and deeper understanding through practice.
Furthermore, beyond the engineering aspect of the voluntary program, I managed to improve my Spanish proficiency, see a different culture, and appreciate incredible places I had a chance to visit. And what is the most important, I created unforgettable moments with people who became my friends. I’m definitely looking forward to more projects abroad!