HomeNicaragua Stories / Barbara Serino

'It Was Like Seeing a Miracle Unfold'

The Nicaragua trip was absolutely the BEST experience of my life! This trip made me realize the power of a “can do” attitude. We were challenged in so many ways–from an extremely physical hike in and out of the community and adopting a new diet, to a significant language barrier and living arrangements far outside our comfort zones. I was amazed at how we were able to persevere and contribute so much to the extremely gracious community of Platanal.

The village was amazing. Here in this remote part of the Boaco region of Nicaragua lives a community of humble and hard-working people. They welcomed us as if we were long-lost friends. They were eager to help us in any way to get their solar panels installed, by carrying tools and equipment to their homes and being on hand to help out when needed.

They also tolerated us attempting to speak Spanish and were quick to teach us how to speak their language. Fortunately, we had our GRID Alternatives folks on hand to translate, as well. I can’t imagine what we would have done without them!

The first day, as we were heading out to one of the first solar projects, my team got a little “lost” and walked an extra 20 minutes to get to there, but it was a blessing in disguise. When we emerged from the woods, we were treated to one of the most beautiful vistas (views) I’ve ever seen. Even better? I was teamed up with three Viridian associates I didn’t know before our much-deviated hike to work on solar projects: Jim Hennigan, Kevin Keith and Gus Philemont. My time with these gentlemen was not only memorable, but filled with a lot of laughs—and hard work—that have built friendships I will cherish forever.

The best part? Watching the expression on the faces of those families the moment their lights were turned on.

It was like seeing a miracle unfold. We are so blessed to have the advances we have and yet we take them for granted. They savor and cherish the little things, family and community; it is this lesson that I took away from our time in Platanal.

It was truly the most rewarding trip of my lifetime. While we worked hard, the surroundings were gorgeous. The “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes” was breathtaking! The people, culture, food and landscape of Nicaragua are things I will never forget, and I hope to someday return.

I feel so fortunate to be part of the Viridian family and I can’t thank Michael and his amazing team for the opportunities they give us to make a difference in the world. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making my life so much richer in every single way.

My name is Barbara Serino and I am Generation V.

In March 2015, Viridian traveled to the breathtakingly beautiful and still mostly undeveloped “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes.” To complete our most ambitious project to date, we hiked to the small agricultural community of Portrero Platanal, an off-the-grid village that’s inaccessible by car. With the help of the nonprofit organization GRID Alternatives, we were able to install clean, reliable solar systems on the homes of 40 families, bringing the opportunity for a better life to an entire community.