Name: Jose Antonio Muñoz Bolívar
Hometown: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
Time Spent in Village: January 2015 – January 2016
How did you hear of Nyumbani?
I knew about Nyumbani Village (and Nyumbani as an organization) quite randomly, I received an email from a Spanish NGO called Energy Without Borders, they were looking for a solar trainer, so I started looking a bit into that project and I found out it was to be developed at Nyumbani Village.
What did you do before working in Nyumbani? What interested you in Nyumbani?
Before going to Nyumbani I had been working in the solar industry for almost ten years, from research and development to construction of big commercial PV plants. Immediately before coming to Nyumbani I was living and working in Brighton, UK. There I worked for an international consultancy company, in the solar department. I decided to quit my job and come to Nyumbani since I really liked and believed in the project I was going to be involved in. I think that skills transfer and education is the only way to help building a better and equal world.
Had you ever been to Kenya before?
No, the only Sub-Saharan Africa country I had been before Kenya was South Africa, where I had work previously for a few months.
What did you do in the Village? What projects or programs were you involved in?
From January 2015 to July 2015 I carried out a solar training program at the Village Polytechnic School. Nyumbani intended to start a solar specialization course in the Polytechnic during 2016 (to add to the carpentry, masonry, welding and tailoring specialisations), so the goal of my project was to train the future instructors. I had 4 students, 2 of them had been children of Nyumbani and the other 2 were members of the community.
Following the truing program, from September 2015 to January 2016, myself, my 4 students and other 5 young electricians electrified all the houses of Nyumbani Village by using solar PV energy. Now all of Nyumbani’s residents have solar light in their homes.
In January 2017, the solar specialization curriculum in the Polytech will open with one of my community students, Benson Wasua, as its trainer.
What was your favorite memory or part of the village?
I wouldn’t be able to define which one is my favourite memory. I remember and will always remember with lots of love my relationship with my students, co-workers and also with the Village staff, kids and shushus…personal relationships are the most valuable of all the things I’ve experienced at Nyumbani.
What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about sustainability?
Well, I’ve learnt quite a lot about myself, specially I’ve learnt to value things, to value things that deserve to be valued, and not think too much or worry about things that are not so important. But here in the “Western” or “Northern” countries we tend to overvalue.
What are you doing currently?
I just came back from Kenya in April, so now I’m still settling at home, but I’d like to start a small business to do solar installations both here in Spain but also in developing countries.
Thank you so much to Jose for sharing his Nyumbani story and for all the amazing work he has contributed to Nyumbani!