OEC Lights the World in Guatemala
Thirteen co-op volunteer linemen departed the country Oct. 10 for Guatemala. One of the team members is OEC lineman Clint Mobley. The team will build power lines in the isolated village of Chiis located in the northwestern part of the country, and provide first-time electricity to about 80 families. 
Electric cooperatives have a long-standing tradition of bringing lights where there are none. In a spirit of cooperation, the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) partnered with NRECA International, the philanthropic arm for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), to electrify this poverty-stricken village in rural Guatemala.
At press time, the project is still underway. Volunteers are staying at a training center near the village. When completed, the project will consist of approximately 1.74 miles of primary line and 1.2 miles of secondary line. The village is isolated, economically vulnerable, and mainly produces beans, spices and corn for self-consumption. Most villagers speak a Mayan-based dialect, Kekchi. A local utility, ADECORK, will generate power to the village by way of a small hydroelectric plant. Volunteers are scheduled to return to the U.S. on Oct. 28.
“We are proud of the volunteers. Bringing electricity to remote areas in developing countries takes electric cooperatives back to their roots,” said OAEC General Manager Chris Meyers. “It reinforces our commitment to improve the quality of life for local communities at home and abroad.”
“We are proud of one of our own, Clint Mobley, for his willingness to leave his home for an extended period of time to empower far-away communities,” said CEO Patrick Grace. “Access to electricity will bring economic empowerment, better access to health care and enhanced safety for these villagers. It’s a life-changing gift.”
Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have established a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, The Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation, to support this cause. All contributions are tax-deductible. To learn more, visit: http://tinyurl.com/energytrails.
You are invited to follow the team’s journey at https://energytrails.wordpress.com and on Facebook at bit.ly/MobleyGuatemala.