Home / Nicaragua Stories / Ken Olson

A Flip of a Switch and a Village Full of Smiles

LiveViridian-Nicaragua-vTiles-_0004_Ken_Olson
Hola from Nicaragua,

From March of 2014 to March of 2015, I have had the good fortune to be part of Viridian’s global sustainability initiatives that included planting trees in a deforested part of the Amazon, learning from and teaching Fijian children about sustainability and bringing light to a tiny village in Platanal, Nicaragua. It is fulfilling to be a part of the positive ripple effects of global and local sustainability. Individual choice and collective impact; people, planet, profit; partner for change; marrying profitability with sustainability; and power with purpose are not just taglines, they are Generation V in action.

I was assigned to a team of five that included a GRID Alternatives supervisor as well as founder, CEO and visionary Michael Fallquist. Seeing Michael on three different tin roofs that could have collapsed under his 6-foot-4-inch frame at any moment personified Michael’s commitment to sustainability, the villagers of Platanal and the Viridian network. Not to mention Michael’s ongoing financial support for our 7 Continents in 7 Years voluntourism excursions. Viridian Energy stands apart from all other third-party energy suppliers when it comes to leaving local and global communities better than we found them.

The most rewarding part of the trip was when we had over 30 of us huddled around in a home that had solar panels installed that day to watch the family flip the light switch. It was pitch black outside and inside but in an instant the darkness turned to bright light. You could clearly see the impact of bringing light to a village through their smiles. Now, children in Platanal can study and play at night, families can interact and clearly see one another, and a day could be extended beyond nightfall.

I earned the Nicaragua trip through an incentive called “Work for the Future” along with four other Associates. The “Work for the Future” winners earned a free day in Granada and I was able to zip line in Mombacho and ash board in Leon at an active volcano called Cerro Negro. Although I did not join the 7 Continents in 7 Years trip winners at the luxury resort following the service part of the trip, I believe the true reward associated with this journey is the ability to be a part of Viridian’s mission and vision.

A humble and grateful thank you to Michael Fallquist, Cami Boehme, Hannah Wells, the entire corporate team and Generation V for allowing me to be part of such a special movement.

My name is Ken Olson 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.