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Celebrating light.

There was cause for celebration in Pena Roja this week. Just as it has been on each of the four Project Indiana construction trips before this one, our linemen brought electricity to a village that has never had it before. That was the mission. But, as they’ve done on each trip before this one, the linemen celebrated with the villagers a successful mission and the possibilities that are to come for those who live in Pena Roja.

The village residents dressed in their Sunday best and prepared a feast for all who were there to celebrate this much-anticipated time with them. And, there was ICE CREAM, a rare treat that wasn’t possible before the linemen brought electricity to power freezers. They offered a festive environment with music and dance. Dignitaries celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Their neighbors came from near and far to celebrate the light and possibilities now available to the residents of Pena Roja. The nearby village of Las Flores was electrified by Alabama’s electric cooperatives in 2013. They joined in the celebration this week, too. The schoolchildren from Las Flores came to celebrate with their Pena Roja friends and to extend their appreciation to their electric cooperative friends.

And, the Project Indiana team celebrated alongside their new friends from Pena Roja.

A few from the team had quietly made a “short” trip to the community of Cuilco to do a little shopping for gifts. After pooling their money, the team returned with 65 pair of shoes, 65 coloring books, four soccer balls, pinatas, fireworks and some backpacks. Each Pena Roja child received a new pair of shoes and a coloring book. The men offered a cornhole-contest-of-sorts to give away the backpacks. They played soccer with the children, and celebrated the festive day with the fireworks and pinatas.

By the time the Project Indiana team left the mountain at the end of that day, every home in Pena Roja had working electricity. This was truly a day to celebrate.