EPIC ROAD'S SAFARI BLOG

Entries in luci solar lights (2)

Monday
Sep232013

The New Place for Secluded African Luxury Safaris

luxury african safari 

“Why does it seem everyone is going to Namibia?” The question, overheard at an end-of-summer gathering of creative urban nomadic types, could certainly elicit a number of responses.

Maybe, for the nature lover, they opt for a luxury safari to explore the country’s deep diversity of animal and plant wildlife.  For the artist, to soak up the endless Namib Desert vistas, punctuated by rolling reddish pockets of pristine dunes.  For the adventure junkie, to surf the rocky, rugged Skeleton Coast, in misty waters still haunted by the ghosts of ancient shipwrecks.  And—perhaps of particular interest to overcrowded New Yorkers—many go to simply just feel the almost divine sense of utter remoteness that stems from time spent in one of the least densely populated places on earth.  There is no better cocktail for inspiration than isolation, surrounded by spectacular natural landscapes, with opportunities for life-changing encounters thrown in.  

Unlike other destinations where “everyone” seems to be going these days, the Namibia experience is not about exporting Brooklyn or Burning Man to the African desert.  Namibia’s history runs deep, its ethnic and cultural makeup is highly diverse, and it is also home to some of the oldest—and still most isolated—tribal communities on the continent. 

True, travelers to Namibia can arrange to go on a desert safari to see first hand rare species like the Black Rhino; engage in adrenaline-fueled activities like ATV off-roading or hot-air ballooning across the dunes at Sossusvlei; and relax afterwards in romantic resorts that boast high organic design, and even higher rustic luxury.   When traveling to Namibia via Epic Road, however, you will also have the opportunity to engage in a mind-altering exchange of culture, social enterprise and good will that can (quite literally) enlighten your life—and the lives of the communities you visit—forever.

Participating in a Luci Solar Light drop is one of the most unique elements of an Epic Road expedition, and one that also encompasses our core mission of transformative travel.  Partnering with MPOWERD Inc, a B-corp enterprise that sells innovative and affordable solar powered products, Epic Road is working to develop local, micro-distribution channels to bring Luci lamps to members of the nomadic Himba tribe.   A Luci drop can be included as part of an itinerary personalized by Epic Road, where you can also experience the privilege of visiting and working with communities within range of Serra Cafema, one of the most remote camps in all of Africa.  In the words of one Epic Road traveler, time spent working with the Himba sent her home with a “renewed sense of self, that any obstacle is surmountable, and that anything is possible.” 

 Why is everyone going to Namibia?  If anything is possible, perhaps, the question should be: Why Not?

Monday
Aug122013

Interview with the Co-founder of MPOWERD Inc., Creators of Luci Solar Lights

Epic Road Luci Solar Light Drop in Namibia

This week, we spoke with John Salzinger, the Senior Director of Business Development and Co-founder of MPOWERD Inc, the creators of LUCI solar lights. He tells Epic Road's blog readers about the inspiration behind Luci, the mission, future plans and how to get involved.

Where did the inspiration come from for MPOWERD and Luci solar portable lights?

MPOWERD’s CEO and Co-founder, Jacques-Philippe Piverger, was exploring the renewable energy sector as a means of combining his business and development oriented interests.  Accordingly, he assembled a team of partners to help actualize his vision. On a trip we took together to post-earthquake Haiti, the benefits of such technology really hit home for the team as we were able to see first-hand how the reliance on fuel-based light and power sources negatively impact health, safety, gender disparity, the environment and economic prosperity. Coming from the United States, where rural areas have benefited both socially and economically from electrification for more than 100 years, we felt the issue of energy poverty was unacceptable and decided to do something about it.

What is MPOWERD's mission?

As a B-Corp. we aim to do good by doing well. Our vision it to help eradicate energy poverty through solar justice. We develop, manufacture and sell innovative and affordable solar powered products like our inflatable Luci light in order to achieve this vision. We sell directly to individuals and to major retailers, and we partner with organizations like Epic Road and NGOs to set up micro-distribution channels in developing communities in order to get our technology into the hands of those who need it most in the final mile. We believe that our forward thinking business model is good for business and for society at large.

What makes Luci so revolutionary and disruptive?

Its utility and its light environmental footprint. Luci is waterproof, inflatable and collapsible, portable, durable and green. She replaces such harmful traditional light sources as kerosene, which is expensive, heavy to transport, unsustainable and dangerous.

Can you provide our readers with an example of successful deployments of Luci Lights in places with energy poverty?

Epic Road has done a great job of incorporating Luci into some of their transformational trips and having guests introduce her to people in remote developing communities through their “Luci Drops”. This inspiring video shows what the reaction is like when she is introduced to a member of the Himba Tribe in Namib Desert, Namibia.  

We also partner with NGOs through our Give Luci Program which allows people to purchase Luci at a discount and give her to one of our several partners for distribution in communities where she is needed most. For example, Jamie Bechtel, Founder of New Course, one of our partners, has distributed lights in various areas in Africa and most recently in Bongandanga, a village in the middle of the Congo where the head of a women's group was very happy to receive the MPOWERD solar powered lamp. According to Jamie, the woman said: "It will help my children with homework, it will help when doing housework and other work at night, and of course it will save us a lot of money."

As well, through some of our more traditional distribution methods, we have been able to have a very positive impact in such places as Nigeria, Kenya, Haiti, The Philippines, Haiti, Congo and Tanzania, to name a few.

What new products or ideas does MPOWERD have for the future?

We are working on building additional smart, green and cost-efficient products that introduce new utility. MPOWERD’s entire product line will be solar in nature but will encompass much more than simply illumination.

For those clients who have come back from a Luci Light drop with Epic Road, what are some other ways they can get involved?

We would love for them to contact us so that we can explore ways to work together. For example, by participating in our Give Luci Program or by working with us to develop a meaningful, high impact corporate social responsibility program for their organization. The issue of energy poverty is huge so the more people we can engage in the movement, the better for our environment and society at large. To learn more, we encourage people to follow MPOWERD on social media or email us at info@mpowerd.com.