How can I volunteer if I’m not an English, Math or Science teacher? If you’ve wanted to volunteer in Nangi and asked yourself that question then I would like to introduce Jason, a volunteer from Australia. Jason is not a math, computer or English teacher but he is a skilled electrician who traveled to Nangi in May 2012 and put his electrician skills to work. He worked on two projects including upgrades to existing lighting and wiring for the hostel buildings and renovations on the roundhouse kitchens.

New kitchen light in volunteer roundhouse.

More on the roundhouse renovations will come later but here is what he had to say about his electrical work:

“I brought my own hand tools to do electrical work which included pliers, screwdrivers, knife, gloves, a Multimeter for power testing, electrical tape, and zip/cable ties. We also borrowed tools from Ramon, the local carpenter and the lodge cook such as saws, hammers, measuring tape, jigsaw, chisels and a plane. For rewiring of huts/hostel area we sourced extra hand tools for the students to use for helping with rewiring, including screwdrivers & pliers.”

Materials were ordered from Beni such as electrical cable, connectors, junction boxes, light globes and holders, light covers/reflectors and batten holders, main switches, circuit breakers, circuit switches, cable clips and rolls of electrical tape. When ordering supplies from Beni or Pokhara he advises: “be clear on what exactly you need, how much of it and why, when ordering materials…as the jeep transporting the materials can be delayed (weather, mechanical issues, etc.) and work on projects could be held up for days.”

Jason not only worked as an electrician but also taught and engaged students in the work as seen in the following comments: “The boys got new posts from the surrounding forest to replace some of the unsafe posts in the hostel area used for suspending the aerial wires and the outside communal lighting. We also used small lengths of plastic water pipe to place around the cables to protect them from rubbing against the roof sheeting on the students huts in areas were there was risk of the copper conductor being exposed and making contact with the roof sheeting causing them to become live.”

“The rewiring of the hostel area was urgently needed, it is now much easier to use, a whole lot safer for the students and teachers, and the entire system will be more reliable. Previously there had been issues with electrical fires but I’m confident that this shouldn’t be an issue anymore, the installation can now be easily upgraded if required and should also be sufficiently weather proofed so shall now be longer lasting. A few of the boys also got a lot of experience in electrical work.

New switchboard in the teachers' hut.

After I showed them how to do a few things correctly and better techniques (i.e. – stripping cable, twisting wires together, joining cables in connectors, assembling lights, running circuits, placing joins in junction boxes) they were keen to get into it and did quite a good job for the most part. The switchboard now has 5 individual switches for designated areas – Main hostel/library area, library supply, boys’ huts, girls’ huts and outside lights. So overall the students got experience in electrical work, and the installation is safer, more reliable and easier to use.”

Jason has multiple ideas and suggestions for future volunteers who are skilled electricians and is willing to share them with interested potential volunteers. You can contact me; Dr. Debra Stoner and I will put you in touch with Jason. On a final note he talked about his goals and had this to say: “I definitely intend to return at some point in the future and do more of the same if possible, when this will happen I’ve no idea!”

No matter what your skills click on over to the volunteer section and start thinking of how you can bring your expertise to Nangi…become a volunteer like Jason and light up the world.

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