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Month: April 2023

The Container Arrives!

The last summit in the upper right corner of this photo is Project Indiana team’s destination — the village of Pena Roja. 

And, the crew finally arrived in Pena Roja! The long-awaited shipping container with supplies caught up to the Project Indiana team in Huehuetenango this morning, which allowed the crew to complete its journey to the project site in Pena Roja, Guatemala.

The semi-truck with the shipping container arrived in Huehuetenango by mid-morning. The project team quickly got to work unloading the container onto smaller trucks for the rest of the trip up the mountain. The roads beyond Huehue are more primitive and generally unpaved, which makes them unable to reliably sustain a vehicle as heavy as a semi-truck. Distributing the supplies among several smaller vehicles made the rest of the trip possible.

Before departing Huehuetenango, several team members shopped for the perishable groceries they’ll need in the village. A cook accompanied the crew to the village and will prepare meals for them while they’re on the mountain. The coolers packed on the shipping container were needed to ensure a safe trip up the mountain.

They encountered more Guatemalan traffic on this leg of the trip, some of which is captured in the photo album for today.

The crew stopped in the village of Cuilco for lunch and to refuel. The town’s mayor joined the crew for lunch.

After a brief stop, they continued on their way and reached Pena Roja this evening. They will spend the remainder of the evening unloading the trucks and getting settled before resting for the night.

The crew is anxious to get to work! They anticipate they’ll be able to begin pulling wire first thing in the morning.

Fourteen lineworkers to empower a global community for a better tomorrow

Fourteen Indiana electric cooperative lineworkers will travel to Guatemala in late April as part of an international initiative to bring electricity to a developing area in Guatemala.

“Project Indiana: Empowering Global Communities for a Better Tomorrow” will bring electricity to a part of the Central American country where none is available. The crew will spend April 27 through May 13 extending electric infrastructure in the village of Peña Roja along the western edge of Guatemala. When completed, approximately 26 homes will have electricity for the first time.

Project Crew

  • Matt Bassett, Tipmont
  • Kevin Bay, JCREMC
  • Michael Bowman, Boone REMC
  • Cody Campbell, South Central Indiana REMC
  • Nathan Clayton, Clark County REMC
  • Collin Crabtree, Decatur County REMC
  • Ethan DeWitt, Northeastern REMC
  • Austin Gearlds, NineStar Connect
  • Tom Gettinger, Henry County REMC
  • Clint Heeke, Southern Indiana Power
  • Frank Leach, Carroll White REMC
  • Terry Minic, Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative, Inc.
  • Jason Morrison, Jackson County REMC
  • Michael Newlin, Orange County REMC

Support Team

  • Joe Banfield, Indiana Electric Cooperatives
  • Jamie Bell, NineStar Connect
  • Ron Holcomb, Tipmont
  • Chris Todd, Northeastern REMC

This is the Indiana electric cooperatives’ fifth trip to Guatemala. In August 2012, 28 Hoosier lineworkers from 17 of Indiana’s electric cooperatives, spent four weeks working across the mountainous terrain to bring electricity to 184 homes, a church and a school in three villages. In April 2015, 14 lineworkers battled extreme heat and the rugged land to bring electricity to 164 homes, a school and a church.

In 2017, 14 lineworkers endured temperature extremes to power 68 homes, a school, a church and a health clinic. And, on the last trip in 2019, 14 lineworkers brought electricity to nearly 90 homes, two churches and a school, and ensured that every home they wired for electricity had a properly vented wood-burning cooking stove installed to replace the open fires villagers have used for years.

Follow along the crew’s journey in Peña Roja by visiting

A Long Travel Day

After a long day of travel, the Project Indiana team safely arrived in Guatemala on Thursday, April 27. Their journey included two flights and an hours-long drive to get to their first stop for the night.

The Project Indiana team left Indianapolis for Guatemala City early Thursday morning. After a layover in Houston where there was a short flight delay, they and all of their luggage safely arrived in Guatemala City. The team connected with Project Indiana’s in-country liaison, Hugo, for a late lunch.

The team picked up the rental vehicles (seven pick-up trucks and an SUV) and started the drive to Huehuetenango (pronounced way-way-ten-an-go), Guatemala, where they were scheduled to spend the night in a hotel. The team got to experience some of the vastly different driving experiences of Guatemala – from the gridlock traffic of Guatemala City to more mountainous roads, both of which require a steady hand! Check out the April 27 SmugMug album for some videos.

The hotel in Huehuetenango was a welcome sight after the team’s nearly 17-hour travel day. The hotel provided an opportunity for a good night of sleep, a hot shower and a good breakfast. Although, we hear a local rooster provided a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call. They are also now in the Mountain Time Zone, which is two hours behind most of Indiana.

The team was originally scheduled to depart Friday morning for the project site – the village of Pena Roja. However, the team is going to spend another night in Huehuetenango to allow for the shipping container of supplies to meet them there. The container, which departed Indiana Feb. 1 with an estimated 27-day shipping time, has experienced some delays along the way. But, that all seems to have been resolved now and it’s in transit with the supplies the crew will need to bring electricity to these 26 families who’ve never had the modern convenience in their homes. It is expected to arrive in Huehue by Friday evening.

A few of the village residents will travel to Huehue and help the team unload the container and so they can move the supplies the rest of the way up the mountain together. Unfortunately, the mountain roads from this point forward will not sustain the weight and size of a semi-truck needed to move the full shipping container. Regardless of the size of the vehicle, it will be a slow drive.

The project team will also spend some time Friday purchasing groceries. The team will have a cook to prepare meals for them on the mountain, and these groceries will provide him with the necessary supplies for that task. The updated plan is for the team to travel Saturday to Pena Roja, which is about a four-hour drive from Huehue. There, they will get settled, unload the container, and assess the project. The village residents have already set the 26 poles and dug the anchor holes for the project. They’ve also wired the inside of each home, so when the project is complete the power will flow to their homes. The plan is for the team and residents to spend the first two days pulling wire to have it all in place and begin hanging it on poles from there.