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San Jacinto Updates

Follow the Project Indiana team as they work March 24-April 9, 2019 in San Jacinto, Guatemala. Additional photos can be found on the Indiana Electric Cooperatives Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as on Shutterfly.

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Education is a luxury we can help them afford

Compared to past Project Indiana sites, San Jacinto has an advanced education system. The students have the opportunity to attend school through ninth grade. The primary and secondary school buildings each have three classrooms. And, there’s a computer lab just up the hill along the dirt and rocky road. The computer lab is home to eight antiquated Dell computers that have been powered by a generator until the Indiana lineworkers came.

The children are often malnourished and have poor dental health. They often drink contaminated water, preventive dental care is rare and a diet we’d considered balanced for our children is often unattainable. This leads to stunted development. And, if they’re hungry or don’t feel well, learning is difficult.

Their weakness is always the children.

As with every Project Indiana electrification project, our team of lineworkers is focused on the seemingly insurmountable task ahead of them. They’re driven to get it done safely and are willing to work long days – and often get it done ahead of schedule. San Jacinto was no different.
There is another similar thread that runs through every project: the children of these villages capture the hearts of even the most hardened linemen. And, the San Jacinto children left the same deep impression. Their weakness is always the children.

The lights are on

For the first time ever, the village of San Jacinto, Guatemala, has electricity and the lights are on in 90 homes, a school, two churches and a pump house.

To celebrate the occasion, the residents of the village hosted an “inauguration” ceremony today with the Project Indiana as the featured honorees.

Water and fire

Last night, the mayor of the Chahal municipality (a municipality is more like a county in the United States) invited representatives of Project Indiana to a council meeting after visiting San Jacinto during the day. They discussed the village’s water pump and new wood-fired stoves with ventilation. 

A day of work…and recreation

The Project Indiana team worked until about Noon today and then spent the afternoon on a little rest and recreation.

Installation and education

The guys worked a full day Saturday, heading out as soon as they finished 6:30 breakfast and worked until 6 to complete the installation of all primary, neutral and triplex wires. Project Indiana Board Chair and Tipmont REMC CEO Ron Holcomb presented a “co-op utility sustainability 101” class.

They’re driven to work

Task-oriented by nature, lineworkers are driven to accomplish what they have before them – no matter how big the job seems. The Project Indiana line team is no different.

Steady progress Thursday

The project team made steady progress again Thursday. A total of 36 homes are now wired and secondary line has been pulled for most of the homes. Another pole is being set Friday.

“We kicked…”

One of the project team members summed up Wednesday’s work with a simple, “we kicked a##!” The project team is obviously happy with the progress they’ve made and they’re eager to get back at it each day. Wednesday brought even more homes wired inside, more spans of secondary line and another pole.

Line goes up

Today, the Project Indiana team began pulling and putting up line, installing transformers and wiring the inside of homes.  They worked with  an overcast sky, rain showers and temperatures in the 80s and high humidity.

The work begins

After a good night’s rest at Hacienda Tijax, the Project Indiana team loaded back up for the rest of the trip up the mountain. The project team attended a village town hall meeting, took inventory of and organized the warehouse, and got down to business by inspecting poles and setting anchors.

The travel day

The first day was a full one. The Project Indiana crew gathered at the Indianapolis International Airport at 4:30 a.m. for its 6 a.m. flight to Atlanta, followed by a flight to Guatemala City.

San Jacinto pole setting

Utility poles weigh somewhere around 700 lbs. each. Our electric lineworkers generally use heavy equipment to dig the holes for and move the poles to an upright position that allows for wire to be strung over crossarms and deliver electricity to power our homes. Our team of Project Indiana lineworkers is traveling to Guatemala today to start the process of stringing that wire and make all of the important connections that will ultimately power about 110 homes in San Jacinto. But, the residents of this village have been working incredibly hard to prepare for their arrival.