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  • Writer's pictureOmar Samman

Apolonio, A True Man of Strength

Here is an introduction to someone that inspired us while we were installing solar kits in the village of La Mora, Nicaragua.

His name is Apolonio Del Mondez and he lives with his family of seven in a home outside of the village. We installed a Beyond the Light solar kit on his home, complete with USB ports for cellphone charging, radio and a fan, as well as two lights to illuminate his home at night.

Apolonio works very hard as a farmer to support his family. One thing I noticed is that at 60 years old, he is in amazing physical shape. You can see him in the picture behind, our good friend “El Pinta”, carrying the ladder; he did that for us the entire time we were installing in the mountains. This was one heavy ladder! He inspired us to get in shape because neither Jarib nor I could carry the ladder up the mountains very far…

Mr. Del Mondez owns some roosters and hens and two huge pigs that are part of his primarily source of meat. He also loves to cultivate plantain, banana and cocoa trees as these fruits can be sold at the local market.

Apolonio has been one of the many that are more than appreciative for the installed solar kits. He expressed that now he can listen to his favorite radio station because of the rechargeable AM/FM radio received. The family used to have a radio for about 15 years but after too much use, it stopped working. Apolonio can now listen to the musical hits of his age!

As some of you are aware of, the 21st century has opened new ways for the society to communicate. Walkie-talkies, cellphones and even satellite phones are all a consequence of this barrier-breaking innovations of communication. Nevertheless, these devices are not just fancy accessories, but an important tool for myriads of tasks. People in the mountains of Nicaragua lose hours and hours of relentless walks because at times, they don’t have a way to communicate with the person they are to visit.

Fortunately, Mr. Apolonio has a little, primitive but functional, cellphone that he uses for communication, also as a flashlight if needed. He used to have to walk into the village and either pay about U$1 a week to charge his phone at someone’s home or use the electricity at church. (That’s a good reason to go to church too, right?)

Many of us consider as granted, phone-charging, but this is a huge concern in places like Mr. Del Mondez village, where there is not electricity, but 10 miles away. For someone who farms as a way of living, and earns roughly U$50 a month, having around U$4 extra (as he doesn’t have to pay anymore to charge his phone), makes a difference in his budget.

We plan to visit him this summer, check the system and sing along with him with the old/new songs he listens to.

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