Today we take you to the village of Bananso. Bananso is located in the south of Mali, not far from the border with Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast.
The village has a large number of gold deposits. The local people have been operating a larger gold mine for some time, as well as many small ones, and have been able to build up a good economic base. This provides a strong influx of workers from outside, which has turned Bananso into a busy small town.
The town springs to life mainly during the dry season. During this time, seasonal workers come to town from all over to become part of the gold rush and help in the mines with milling, sifting and prospecting. Entire tent cities spring up around the mines, and entertainment and nightlife flourish. In the rainy season, most seasonal workers move back out of town and home to their families, because the mosquitoes make working almost impossible then.
In the rainy season, the river right by the village becomes a major challenge. The bridge connecting the village to the main road disappears under water during this time and people either decide to take a 150 km detour or dare to cross the river. For the local inhabitants, the crossing is part of everyday life – mopeds, animals and all kinds of goods are transported across the river loaded onto small barges. The crossing involves certains risks, however, and the inhabitants expressly warn the inexperienced not to cross the river without special precautions.
During the daytime, also, there is always a lot of activity in the village. The range of goods on offer and the panorama of rivers and mountains provide good recreational opportunities. There is a large soccer field where young and old can play together. The soil of red earth offers excellent hard court conditions. Furthermore, a small health station is operated directly in the village, which can provide fast help, especially in acute cases of malaria.
The electricity from the Solartainers is mainly used for cooling food and beverages as well as for private use. The good income from the gold trade means that many families can afford to run private refrigerators, fans and televisions. Small restaurants and kiosks use the electricity to offer cold drinks and fresh products.
For example, a local beverage vendor immediately ordered a second meter and told us that it is much cheaper and more effective to refrigerate his beverages in electrically operated freezers than to have to buy and transport ice to do so. He can now save a lot of time, increase sales and use the additional money generated to expand his business.
We also see great potential in offering and using Internet services. Due to the high number of users, especially in the business district, the mobile network is currently repeatedly overloaded. For the future, there are also plans to operate some of the machines used for gold mining with electric power instead of diesel. Here, however, we are still in the evaluation phase together with the local people, as the equipment requires high power.
Due to the gold mining and the dependence on the large gold mine operated by an Australian company, the effects of global crises are felt more strongly in Bananso than in other villages where we are active. The Corona pandemic, for example, brought supply chains to a standstill and exports to a partial halt. But residents and workers are confident that the situation will stabilize again.
Bananso is the first village where we installed two Solartainers due to the high demand for electricity. This is another advantage of the mobility of the products. Depending on demand, we can adjust the number of Solartainer and thus adapt the power capacity available in the villages. If the demand exceeds the current capacity, another Solartainerr can be set up on site. If the demand decreases or the opportunity arises for the village to be connected to the public grid, the Solartainers can be moved to another location and provide renewable energy to the people there for more self-determination and growth.
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