July 31, 2016. A relaxing Sunday spent on the rooftop, reading. As I write this blog from up here, I see beautiful beautiful red and white flags celebrating the Peruvian independence weekend and also, welcoming my last 5 days in Peru. Before this summer I used to think 10 weeks is a really really long time. I guess not. While I have mixed feelings about leaving this incredible country I am complete satisfied with every day, every hour and every moment I spent here. I still remember I stepped out of the aircraft and into the lima airport skeptical about clearing the immigration with absolutely zero Spanish skills. 65 days later I can proudly say I can not only just build wind turbines but also do plethora of other things I never thought I would.
When I look back, days merge into each other, a rush of thoughts run through my mind and the level of dopamine shoots up. These happy days can not be traded for anything else in the world. As cliché as it may sound, I mean every word when I term these 70 days the best days of my life. Most of the days were spent in Trujillo, building the turbine, working on the workshop, helping the organization and analyzing data. While 20 days were spent in Playa Blanca, a rural fishing community in Northern Peru, where we installed 3 wind turbines, built a test center for sustainability of the project, surveyed the families and studied the socio-economic impacts of WindAid on the community and their lifestyle.
What goes into making a wind turbine? Well the recipe of a turbine in super simple and is based on the basic electromagnetic induction principle of physics. We start by making the blades with resin, carbon fiber, foam and fiber glass. Next are the coils which form the stator. A disk of alternatively arranged north and south poles of magnets is called the rotor as it rotates with the blades. We make every part from scratch at the workshop. During the process I got trained in using different tools and welding machines. We also made our own tools and jigs to simplify the current process. Arranging the electronic systems including wiring the houses at Playa Blanca was a completely new and interesting experience for me.
At Playa Blanca our days would start as early as 6 am because that was the time most families could be found at home and not on their fishing boats. The duke team interviewed and surveyed current turbine using families and other future turbine users to gauge the project impacts. We studied the demographics, energy usage behaviours, impacts on birds and economic benefits of the turbine. Each family will be given an infographic showing them the money they are saving and the environmental benefits of not using diesel generators and candles.
I couldn’t have asked anything more from my 70 days spent in this magnificent country, interacting with people from all over the world and contributing to the Peruvian community. In this country I have not only made memories but also a family of international leaders.