For the first time, the lights are on in Sillab, Guatemala. TCEC Journeyman Lineman Kyle Weber recently returned from there where he, along with 19 others, brought electricity to the isolated village near the Belize border in the region of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.
Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives – in partnership with Colorado’s electric cooperatives and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s philanthropic arm, NRECA International – worked together to make the project possible.
Kyle described his experience in Sillab as “life changing.” He said it made him appreciate life more and it was a rewarding experience.
While Kyle wasn’t sure what to expect when he applied for the trip, he knew it would he hard work in an extreme environment. The work was challenging at times because the team did not have all the luxuries they do at home. They do not have bucket trucks and large equipment. Kyle said he worked most of the time ‘off his hooks’, which is a reference to climbing a pole and standing on the climbers’ hooks on his boots. He doesn’t do that as often at home because he’s able to use bucket trucks more.
After arriving in Sillab, Kyle was shocked at how little the villagers had and how they still managed to make things work. The locals live in extreme poverty conditions without running water, plumbing and food refrigeration. The villagers depend on farming operations for economic sustainment; they produce corn, beans, cardamom seeds, and some vegetables.
“They were poor and didn’t have very many things,” he said. “I believe they are rich in nonmaterialistic ways such as love and gratitude. Things that cannot be bought. These are the happiest people I have ever met. They never hesitated to help us and thank us. I feel extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to electrify the village of Sillab.”
Kyle would like to thank his wife and kids, the Energy trails foundation, TCEC, and everyone else who helped him along this journey. He plans on applying to be a part of the Energy Trails projects in the future.