Giving Light, Providing Hope in Guatemala
For the villagers of Nueva Providencia, Guatemala, watching a soccer game on television means more than just national pride, it also means improved education, economic activity, and safety. Currently the villagers live without access to electricity, which means the arrival of dusk at 6 p.m. halts the majority of activity in the community, as candles and kerosene lamps are their only source of light. CH2M HILL engineers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Trevor Ghylin and Christie Walker have teamed with the Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB USA) Marquette University student chapter to bring electricity to the community through the use of hydro and solar power systems to provide LED light in 35 homes. Eventually, Nueva Providencia will be able to operate and spread the systems themselves by using a business plan provided by Global Business Brigades and the help of a local engineering firm Xela Teco to maintain the system. Safety through street lighting, increased education thanks to the ability to read at night and improved access to broadcast information and greater economic and entrepreneurial activity, will all lead to better community health and morale. Additional revenue in the village means more food to combat malnutrition and better medication to combat sickness. Trevor, Christie, and their fellow EWB USA members have shown that a little project can translate to big results, and that there is no project too small to matter — a core belief at CH2M HILL.