Friday, December 21, 2012

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative Thank You - 2012 Was a Great Year!

ATDC Logo 3b-1 2
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative
Thank You - 2012 Was a Great Year!

12 Reasons to Celebrate 2012

2012 was a banner year for The Appropriate Technology Collaborative.  Our products, technologies and programs reached more people in 2012, we brought more volunteers to work with our clients and started new innovative projects that will continue to be an important part of our mission from here forward.

Juan Carlos Water Filters Sm SQ1.  In January ATC friend Juan Carlos Cheves helped us transport a complete solar power system from the U.S. to the CECAP School on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.  This was no simple task, shipping involved ocean freight, warehouses, import into Guatemala, ground transportation, water taxis and a truck ride up a very steep mountain road.  Good Work to Juan Carlos and the Rotary Club of Guatemala Sur!

Photo:  Juan Carlos Cheves with water filters.

Group Photo Santa Cruz Solar on CECAP sm sq2.  In February we had our largest single group, 17 in all, travel to Guatemala to join 10 Guatemalans to install solar power on the CECAP school and to fix up a Parvolos School in San Marcos.  With such a large group we were able to work on 5 projects.  Surveys from participants both Guatemalan and U.S. show 100%  would recommend ATC volunteer travel to their friends.  Thank you Rotary International!

Photo:  Volunteer travel team March 2012, CECAP school roof.

Please Support Young Mayan Women
Mayan Power and Light 3 up sm
Mayan Power and Light will teach Mayan girls about electricity, circuits and solar power.  In summer 2013 The Appropriate Technology Collaborative will help them start a solar power cooperative.  For this very disenfranchised population education + opportunity = a higher standard of living and healthier families.  Opportunity with ATC creates a multi-generational improvement in quality of life.
Donate Button

Tzununa School sm sq3.  In February and March on the lake in Guatemala we gathered data for new volunteer projects, including designing solar power for a small school in the village of Tzununa on Lake Atitlan, which is now scheduled for March 2013.

Photo:  Tzununa School

Learning to Weave 54.  We continued work with the University of Michigan BLUELab Woven Wind team.  This is an exceptional group of students who have traveled to Guatemala twice so far to work with local women weavers to create a wind turbine that can be manufactured in part from locally woven fabric.

Photo:  Woven Wind Learning to Weave

Michael Smith5.  January – March ATC’s amazing and inspirational educator Michael Smith along with Jose Ordonez, Carlos Alvarez and Santos Pelechú created the popular curriculum “Circuits and Solar” which covers electricity, circuits and solar power.  The curriculum is used to teach technical school students the skills to work for, or to start, a small scale solar power business.  In 2012 Circuits and Solar was a big hit in Guatemala and in the U.S.  Thank you IEEE Foundation and the Clif Bar Foundation.  More to come in 2013!

Photo:  Michael Smith

Carlos Teaching Circuits and Solar sq sm6.  In March we taught “Circuits and Solar” at the CECAP school in Guatemala.  Our teaching method is to work with experienced Engineers and Teachers in the country where we hold a workshop.  Guatemalans teach Guatemalans and Kenyans teach Kenyans.  This works much better than “us” teaching “them”.  ATC is about collaboration.
 Photo:  Carlos Alvarez Teaching Circuits and Solar

Kayla Christian and Robin sm sq2 7.  In March ATC’s Ruben Mata and wife Kayla welcomed son #2 Robin into the world.  Ruben has taken on greater responsibility for ATC projects.

Photo: Kayla, Christian and Robin

asturias Circuits and Solar sm sq rev8.  In April we taught “Circuits and Solar” at the Asturias Academy in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.  Carlos Alvarez and Jose Ordonez were the teachers.  At both schools there is now a waiting list for future Circuits and Solar classes.

Photo:  Circuits and Solar at the Asturias Academy

U of M WW Team at Charlies sq sm9.  In May University of Michigan Woven Wind returned to Guatemala to produce a new version of their woven wind turbine.  In just one week Woven Wind met with the women weavers, discussed the design, built a second generation prototype, proved that it worked and visited Mayan Ruins at Iximche.

Photo:  BLUELab Woven Wind in San Marcos

Fotokids sq sm10.  ATC delivered 12 high definition “Flip” video cameras to Foto Kids, a nonprofit that teaches photography skills to kids who grew up picking through garbage at the Guatemala City Dump.  In their 20 year history Foto Kids has grown into a photo, video, graphics and website development company that teaches and employs kids from the dump.  Some of the original Foto Kids are working there today as teachers and multi media producers.  Check out this short video they produced for ATC – Video Link.

Photo:  Fotokids Photographer, San Juan la Laguna

Lake Atitlan sq sm11.  We started a new program with SUNY Oneonta to test and monitor water quality on Lake Atitlan.  Once we can accurately prioritize which stressors on the lake should be addressed first, ATC will work with partners to design a solution.

Photo:  Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Solar Women 2 SQ sm12.  We started our “Mayan Power and Light” program where we teach Circuits and Solar to young Mayan women and help them start a solar power cooperative.  Mayan Power and Light, solar power to replace kerosene lamps and international volunteer travel experiences will be our focus for 2013.

Photo:  Mayan Power and Light Students

We are very excited about 2013, Mayan Power and Light and volunteer travel opportunities in Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Mayan Power and Light – By the Numbers -  Based on our experience and that of our collaborative partners the women's solar power cooperative will sell about 1,000 small scale solar home lighting systems to people who don't have electricity.  Each house will save 750 pounds of CO2 per year.  ATC will also train 8 - 10 other groups to teach Circuits and Solar and start solar power micro businesses in other less economically developed countries.  About half of these groups will start successful solar power businesses who will sell about 1,000 solar home lighting systems around the world.  That makes 5 businesses started the first year.  We plan on repeating this program every year for 5 years.  Some businesses will drop out and some will expand.  At the end of 5 years there may be 25 solar power businesses selling 1,000 solar home energy systems per year saving 
18,750,000 pounds of CO2 every year.

Your support of Mayan Power and Light will go a long way to improving the quality of life for some of the world's poorest people while at the same time saving thousands of tons of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.  A win-win situation if ever there was one. 

Donate at Global Giving:  Mayan Power and Light at Global Giving

 - Mayan Power and Light  - Opportunity by Design  - 

Volunteer Travel Opportunities 2013:

We are pleased to offer the opportunity to work on solar power, natural building techniques and to learn about solar power in Guatemala in 2013.  In addition to several student travel projects we have opportunities for everyone to work with us in Guatemala.

The opportunities are:

March 9 – 17, Solar Power and Natural Building on Lake Atitlan  (Filling fast, reserve your space now, contact: and include the words Volunteer Travel in the subject line)

August 3 – 11, Solar Power, Design and Natural Building on Lake Atitlan

August 11 - 18, Circuits and Solar for Nonprofits and NGOs  (if you travel Aug 3rd you can extend your trip)

Itinerary for March Solar Power and Natural Building Trip:

Location:  Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

March 9 - 17, 2013

Come join The Appropriate Technology Collaborative for the experience of a lifetime. This trip will focus on installing solar power at a small school and learning natural building practices on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.  Recent participants report ATC volunteer work projects as “life changing” and “the best vacation we ever had”.  (Note:  we promise hard work but most people call it fun)  While most tourists never experience Guatemala up close you will work hand-in-hand with local talent and gain insight into an indigenous American culture.  Many local ATC staff speak the local languages Kachiquel and K’iche’.

The personal rewards from this experience in a majority indigenous Mayan region are incalculable. Your perspective on life and the world around you will be changed. We will start the project with a walking tour of historic Antigua, a World Heritage site to get our bearings in time, history and space, and we will end with a tour of the ancient Mayan city Iximche.    If you are game for hard work, hikes in the mountains and making new friends, this trip is for you. Some ATC volunteers from our February 2012 trip will be returning in March 2013.  We suggest you contact us soon at:, please include in the subject line “Travel March 2013”.

About Guatemala:
Guatemala is located in Central America. It borders the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea between Honduras and Belize. Guatemala is rich in natural beauty and travel opportunities; it's a country that offers much to those willing to step off the beaten track for a little while.

Antigua Guatemala is often regarded as the traveler’s hub, a picture-perfect Central American town ringed by volcanoes. La Antigua is a great place to learn Guatemalan history or simply sip some coffee in a street-side cafe and watch the world go by.

Lake Atitlan (or Lago de Atitlán) where our project is located is another frequent stop on any visitor’s itinerary. Lake Atitlan is a volcano-rimmed lake considered by many world travelers to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Guatemala is small with an estimated population of 13 million. It hosts a tropical climate along the lower elevations and cooler weather in the mountains where our project is located. The country is full of rich indigenous culture and Spanish traditions. However, Guatemala also has a nearly 80 percent poverty rate.

Itinerary:  (note: subject to change due to local conditions)
Day 1 March 9, 2013:  Greeted at the airport by ATC Guatemala staff, shuttle to your hotel / hostel in Antigua.

Day 2 (Sunday): AM, Breakfast then a walking tour of Antigua with local historian Elizabeth Bell or her staff;  travel to Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlan; dinner at our hostel / hotel.

Days 3-7 (Work days, Monday-Friday): Breakfast served at 8:00 AM before traveling by boat to work sites; work from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; supper served family style; time for team activities, learning about solar power and free time.

Day 8 (Saturday): Travel to Mayan Ruins at Iximche; travel to Antigua; free time; walking tour of the Antigua Market (optional) overnight in Antigua.

Day 9 (Final day, Sunday March 17, 2013): Departure day.

Note: Trip includes special events throughout the week, including cultural experiences visits to local NGOs, market tours, boat rides, etc..  All food and travel is covered in the Program Cost.  Beverages other than coffee or tea at breakfast and safe drinking water all day are not covered in the Program.

Hotels / Hostels include double- or triple-occupancy rooms and are simple and basic and typically located near the project site. Guatemala’s climate can be hot during the day and cool at night. Hot water is provided but, based on experience, will probably not work all of the time.  Hotel rooms will be cleaned and maintained daily.  Lake Atitlan is at an altitude over 5,000 feet so mosquitoes are rare.  If you are staying in a Hostel room please check your valuables with ATC staff or the Hostel desk.

Program cost: (airfare not included)
US $1,250.00  Based on Double Occupancy, Hotel Room

US $1,350.00 Based on Single Occupancy, Hotel Room

US $1,100.00  Based on staying in Hostel / Dorm Room style

Air travel to and from Guatemala is not provided.  Payments to The Appropriate Technology Collaborative and for air travel associated with our work in Latin America are tax deductible per U.S. IRS Code.  See IRS Publication 526.  We recommend you contact a tax professional.

Take the ATC World Design Challenge:
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative is challenging travel volunteers to make an even greater impact on poverty. We are asking all ATC teams to help us raise an additional $10,000 in 2013 to support ATC’s projects in Latin America. Take the challenge – ask for details on the trip or contact us –, Subject “Travel Team Challenge”.

Team leaders:
John Barrie, Executive Director of The Appropriate Technology Collaborative. John is an Architect and Industrial Designer and he creates new, affordable technologies that provide opportunity for the world's poorest people .  John works about 25% of the time in Guatemala and Nicaragua.   Contact:  john@apptechdesign or info@apptechdesign


The Appropriate Technology Collaborative

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative designs, develops demonstrates and distributes new technologies that improve the quality of life for the world’s poorest people.  We have several projects currently in development including low cost medical diagnostic tools, very low cost solar lighting, wind turbines made from local fabric and a solar coffee dryer!

If you would like to help us please email
Donations  ATC Donations Link
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative is a not for profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  Your donations keep our programs going.  Thank you!
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative is a not for profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  Your donations keep our programs going.  Thank you!

More Information:

Tina Watson's Travel Blog

ATC Flickr Photo Set

John Barrie

Executive Director
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative
3796 Plaza Drive, Suite 1E
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
ph:   734.668.4811

No comments: