Submitted by Abbi Chable
Knight High School
Antelope Valley, Calif.

Nicaragua 3

Ten students from Knight High school, part of the Antelope Valley Union High School District, participated with Grid Alternatives to travel on a service trip to Nicaragua and install off grid solar on remote village schools as part of their high school solar training program.  After completing training on site at the school and on local homes in California (also with Grid Alternatives), the first group of six students traveled to Agua Fria, Esteli, Nicaragua in April 2015, followed by four more students who traveled to Totumblita, Matagalpa, Nicaragua in July 2015.

In each village they installed an off grid solar array on the local school to provide lights to study in the evenings and offer a place of community gathering as well as a means of charging cell phones and small electronics for the village. The participating group of students was mostly seniors, but included a few juniors. Students self selected to participate following introductory solar training in their electrical engineering course, as a supplemental program done after hours.

Abbi Chable was one of the participants; she reports the following about her experience:

“The experience I was given this summer to make a difference is an experience I will never forget. This was not only a chance to make a change but also a chance to learn about solar energy, a new culture, and new customs. While in Nicaragua, we experienced a lifestyle different than what we live here in the United States, we got a chance to experience what it was like to live as a community member and experience the daily hardships they do. We were able to spend quality time with them and teach each other new games, songs, and activities.

Spending time with community members is what makes doing this service for them even closer to heart and made leaving the community much harder. A trip like this impacts you for a lifetime, you remember it everyday and you think about the life you have compared to the lives of those you have met.  It makes you appreciate the world around you and the luxuries we have, and try to help others feel the same appreciation. My father and I have been inspired to make more trips like this with Grid Alternatives to help more communities in need and touch the heart of more people. One taste of service was simply not enough for us, we are hooked on volunteerism for life.”

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