A brighter, safer Agua Fria

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September 05, 2017

Martha Lorena Torres Espinoza (Lorena), and her family lead a typical life in Agua Fria, a rural community in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua, before solar come to their village. She, along with the other women and children, hike over a half a mile down a steep cliff in total darkness at 3 am to wash clothes and start the day. And at night, she would light their home using kerosene, a dangerous and expensive fuel.

But in 2012, a year after GRID Alternatives' International Program installed a solar system on the community elementary school, Lorena became the first ever Solar Saleswoman in Agua Fria, bringing affordable solar lamps to families in her community and neighboring villages. Inspired by the solar installation on the community school, Lorena was motivated to get solar lamps for the health and safety of her community, as Agua Fria had suffered a terrible loss due to the lack of safe lighting; Nearly 10 years ago, a mother and her 8-month-old daughter suffered severe burns after using paint thinner as a lighting source. Tragically, the woman passed away from her injuries, but her daughter survived. The community’s first-hand experience with this fatal accident gave them little hesitation to invest in safer, cleaner solar lamps.

School children at Agua Fria hold up coloring pages showing how solar works.
The children of Agua Fria have a school powered by solar, and now they have access to solar lamps in their homes.
Today Lorena is an inspiration, having sold nearly 80 solar lamps and stabilizing her household by bringing in a second source of income. Like many men in the community, her husband Erndesto has to travel to Costa Rica for months at a time for work, but thanks to the solar lamps she sells, she’s able to support her family while he’s away.

While the women of Agua Fria continue to get up at 3am and make the journey down the hill to wash clothes, she exclaims with excitement: “It’s almost as if there were electricity, because about 6 or 7 women bring their solar lamps and we wash clothes with plenty of light!”

Please contribute today and give safe, reliable lighting for families everywhere.

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