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Finding Connections in Simple Things: Baseball, Slingshots and Family

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When I found out I was going to be a part of the Nicaragua trip, I was excited for two main reasons: The experience to change people’s lives and the opportunity to mingle with another culture. Upon arriving in Nicaragua, I did not know what to expect with the people or the scenery. The people were extra friendly and very welcoming and the mountains and volcanoes were beautiful.

The first day we went into the community was exciting and challenging as we hiked up and down hills for nearly a mile to get to our destination. This was all a new experience well worth it in itself. Upon arriving in the community, you can see right away how shy the kids were, but also curious to meet new people. As a fellow Spanish speaker, I was able to easily interact with all the members of the community and was able to realize how happy these people were with so few material possessions. I realized family was one of the top priorities when I saw the little children clinging to their dads and the teenage young ladies in the kitchen helping their mothers cook lunch or dinner. Seeing seven to nine people living in a one-bedroom household was shocking. They do not complain about it and simply smile and laugh with happiness.

It was also amazing to see how good these kids were with a slingshot! We challenged one of the kids named Trinidad to shoot a rock off his homemade slingshot to an item of our choosing and he was able to hit the item with precision, which was amazing to see in person. The kids were also really good at baseball! They would throw 80+ MPH throws with ease. Watching how much fun they had just throwing a baseball and having a glove to catch with was very touching to me. I was able to connect with the kids just by speaking about baseball as this is one of my favorite sports and I was unaware they would be so excited about the sport.

The experience of installing solar panels and light bulbs for the homes of the members of the community was unforgettable. I asked many of the mothers, fathers and children on their feeling of having light in their homes. Everyone had the same response: Excited, grateful and very happy. It was great to know that Viridian and I were impacting the lives of these people by simply adding solar power and one light bulb in their homes. This one light bulb is all they needed to make a difference in their lives. They also are now able to charge their cellphones and plug in a radio or TV for entertainment if they had one available. This to me will always be a special moment in my life.

I am happy for the opportunity to experience the trip with fellow co-workers and Viridian Associates, who I am sure loved my 5 am wakeup call the day we slept inside the school! Because of this, we were able to drink coffee before the day was over (You’re welcome!). I want to thank Viridian for the opportunity to allow me to impact the lives of others and to give me long-lasting memories of how happy people can be with such a simple lifestyle where happiness comes in the form of family and living in nature.

My name is Ryan Fernandez 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.