This is travel diary for our 12 month trip from UK to South Africa via Europe and Western Africa. We started May 2010 and finished the May 2011. We covered 48,361km in our 4x4 Land Rover Defender 110, visited 30+ countries and performed a variety of photographic studies along the way. All content & photos are subject to Copyright. Please contact author for re-use rights.
Why? - 1.6 billion people on the planet don’t have access to reliable electricity. That’s one quarter of the world’s population. 70% are women and girls living in developing countries. They rely on kerosene lanterns and candles for light. They spend hours each day collecting wood to burn for cooking and heat. They spend up to 30% of their family income on energy that is insufficient, hazardous and unhealthy. Unhealthy for people and unhealthy for the planet. Lack of access to electricity is both a cause and an effect of unremitting poverty.
How? - The most important step to ending poverty is to create employment and income opportunities. Solar Sister does just that by empowering women to generate income by selling solar lanterns to their natural networks of family, friends and community.
The women become change agents in their communities, providing access to clean, dependable solar light for homes, schools and clinics. Solar light replaces the toxic kerosene lanterns and enhances education, improves health and safety and provides economic opportunity. Through economic opportunity and the transforming benefits of solar technology, women are able to lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty
Call to Action - Nick and Vicki are using their trip to reach remote parts of Africa and to raise awareness of the work of Solar Sister. They aim to do this by:
1) Demonstrating the lamps to people along the way
2) Helping to create more "Solar Sisters" and empower women and their families / communities out of poverty
3) Performing a photographic study and advocacy project to support the work of Solar Sister
4) Using online media and their own network to spread the word about Solar Sister
5) Helping to generate income for the charity via donations
6) Collaborating with other travellers, photographers, writers, newspapers, charities, schools, patrons or sponsors that would like to get involved in this project.
Take a minute to visit the Solar Sister website and we hope to hear from you. Thanks!!
Well, we got married, got Nick a visa, moved house, unpacked a container, got our house ready to rent out and then came back to the UK to start our trip. Discovered a couple of "minor issues" as in Vick's name was spelt wrong on the V5 (Reg Document for the Landy) and Nick's driving licence had expired....!!! This put a bit of a spanner in the works for the Carnet application, but Paul Gowan at the RAC was very helpful and understanding - I am sure we are not the first people to have done this. The Landy was also "dead" as it had been on the drive for 3 months during one of the UK's worst winters, so it took a bit of coaxing to get her to start.
We then set about the task of sorting out our gear and packing the van, some of which had been "dumped" in Nick's parents house with the remainder being brought back from South Africa in a Pickfords removal box which looks very stylish as you wait for your luggage to appear at T5. So we started from scratch by putting everything on the lawn and wittled our way through the pile until we were done.
We had to do a bit of adjusting to the cupboards and we also got rid of a lot of things we thought we might need. Finally, 3 days later, we had the van packed with just a few tweaks left to finish. We headed down South for our leaving do / camping bash in the New Forest. On the motorway down to Salisbury, things began to feel like they were starting to happen after the madness of the last 4 months...... and....... the sun was shining!!