Located in the municipality of Tecate, Juntas de Neji covers an area of 11,590 hectares and is home to 140 residents, 90 of which belong to the Kumeyaay nation, making Juntas de Neji the northermost indigenous community of Mexico. Although Juntas de Neji is relatively close to larger towns like Tecate and Tijuana, grid electricity has never been extended to their community. Some families in the community live in 500 square foot houses that were built in 2017 by the federal government to reduce overcrowding in this area, but many of the homes still have no potable water, even though the new homes have a tank for water on the roof.
GRID Alternatives has been working with the community of Juntas de Neji for almost two years with support of different partners. This trip was the third project in the community; in 2018 18 solar home systems and a solar system on the local school were installed.
GRID installed six more solar home systems in October 2019, bringing clean, reliable electricity to six more families in the community for the first time, improving the quality of life for residents and creating more income generating opportunities.
During their 3-day trip to Mexico, participants from the San Diego and Greater Los Angeles area were immersed in the rural community of Juntas de Neji, staying in the community and working alongside GRID staff and partners to assemble and install the solar systems from start-to-finish. They had the opportunity to learn about the community of Juntas de Neji and the local Kumeyaay culture, and interact personally with families and community members. Before and after the project, they had the opportunity to explore a bit more of the Baja California region of Mexico near Juntas de Neji. Check out the photos from the installation here!