What a great team in Nicaragua!
Your BTLP team is back home after 3 weeks in Honduras and Nicaragua and I am simply amazed at the success of the projects. We were able to put solar electricity in 12 schools and 14 homes. In addition to this, we were able to check up on many of the homes and the school that we installed in the last 2 years. We also did a demonstration on a projector that can be connected to the solar electrical system that will allow for educational and entertainment opportunities to these villages. I wish that you all could hear the stories from these people and see the smiles on the student's faces. I will try to write more blogs so that you can get a glimpse of the wonderful people that we met.
First thing though, I want you to know about the incredible team that we had in Nicaragua. I will write about the team in Honduras later. If you look at the picture, you can identify who's who as I try to describe what I saw from each one of them. We stayed in El Carmen, which is a small village that is about 3 hours drive outside of the city of Matagalpa. This area is mountainous and is primarily a farming region, where they grow coffee, cacao, beans, bananas and more. The team was responsible for transportation, food, installation, education and training. I'll go through a description of each person on the team.
Harvy learned incredibly quickly about the solar electrical system in both the homes and schools and became the chief installer, repairer and leader for the installation team. He simply amazed me with his meticulous work and electrical understanding. In fact, he is going to be our BTLP in country engineer who will be building and tracking the systems.
Jhonny was my translator. My communication ability is very bad, so this can be a very tough job. Jhonny handled it very well and really connected with all of the people that we met. An interesting thing about Jhonny is that he amazed me by how much food he can eat, which was very helpful because all of the families that we met offered us plenty of food.
Roberto was our driver and guide. He really did a great job getting us to where we needed to go and is a very safe driver. These mountain roads are very difficult, but he managed to make sure we didn't get stuck. He also secured the truck on a lot of our long walks. Roberto has a wonderful family and I was very impressed by his intelligence and passion for his mission.
Domingo is our main technician in the area and he was responsible for installation and describing the system to the teacher or family. Domingo has such a friendly attitude that it is contagious for the entire team. He opened up his home and church for us to stay. I even got to hold his new baby and get to know his incredible family. He continues to be an inspiration to me and I wish there were more Domingos in the world.
Damaris and Efigenia made sure that we had food to eat and water to drink. They are really experts in making Gallo Pinto, which we ate in huge quantities. They are organized and efficient with all of the preparation. I also found that they are really good singers.
Alexis was part of the installation team. He learned very quickly and worked on wiring and panel installation. Sometimes he would scare me because he climbed on these sheet metal roofs, but he never fell off. One thing about Alexis is that he is very strong and carried the tools and batteries to the site, which could sometimes be miles up a mountain.
Eliazar was also part of the installation team, where he as always ready with the parts when they were needed. He also could carry a lot of stuff up a mountain, which was really helpful. He connected with the people with his stories and helpful observations. He personally taught me about what it means to be a coffee picker.
These people formed a great team in the mountains of Nicaragua. They were tough, smart and efficient. With their newly gained experience, these systems will keep going for the farmers and students and I am excited about our next adventure together this summer. It was amazing to watch the team come together and form a cohesive group.