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Teaming Up to Make a Real Difference

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I was so excited to be asked to participate in this year’s trip to Nicaragua as a member of the corporate staff. The stories from the 7 Continents in 7 Years trips have always been amazing to read about and impactful when I would relate them to staff and customers from an observer’s perspective. I knew the trip would be a challenge for me personally but I was ready for it! Preparing for the trip involved planning to pack the proper clothes and basic comforts that I thought I would need for the trip agenda. What I did not know and could never guess at this planning stage was how this trip would impact me at the core of my being.

The purpose of our trip was to work with a nonprofit organization called GRID Alternatives in a remote community called Portrero Platanal, installing solar panels and affording residents something that we take for granted–having a source of light in their homes. Getting to the community was a well-coordinated effort of four-wheel-drive trucks, hiking and using beasts of burden to help us get us to our destination. Once we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly community proud to have the Viridian visitors in their midst to help them personally achieve such an important project for their own lives. Once I saw the dirt floor homes of this village with pigs and chickens running freely through them and remembered that each family contributed $250 toward the cost of these solar installations, I realized that I was at a point in my life to be able to make a real difference in someone else’s life. I could not comprehend how these residents with such a simple life could even have the means to earn, much less contribute, that much money for a solar system– with as little as they had in their lives.

The experience was made even more rewarding because I was able to work shoulder to shoulder with Viridian Associates and broaden my relationships with them on a more personal level. It was during our group effort of constructing the solar control boxes that I realized that we had very subtly become a team, sharing the same construction goals, project completion goals and humanitarian goals. I was proud to experience this team effort and realized that through it, I had reached new level in my personal life and indeed in my career with Viridian.

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.