Steve Sensebe, a resident of California's Bay Area, traveled to Nicaragua with GRID Alternatives in November 2017 for our first improved cookstoves installation project. Here he recounts his experience "unplugging" and immersing himself in Nicaraguan culture.
There are certain meaningful experiences throughout life that compel you to turn inward and reflect. My trip to the rural community of El Pedregal, Nicaragua with GRID Alternatives to work on an improved cookstoves project was my time to reflect on life. Upon arrival to El Pedregal, I was warmly welcomed by a family that would be my hosts for the next 3 days. They had 2 twin girls and a little boy. Honestly, it was a big challenge for me to be disconnected while in the community, which lacks access to electricity from the grid and internet. I’m the person that reads everything about solar, tech, will binge watch Netflix, and read news feeds right before bed. But after just one night in the community, I had adjusted to not watching TV or worrying about the outside news.
We got to know several families while working on the improved cookstoves installation project, and got to hear from them why they had decided to invest in the cookstoves. They mentioned the impacts it would bring to their family’s well-being, such as the benefits to their health from no longer cooking with open flames.
On our last day, my host family made a delicious meal. If you think you’ve eaten fresh food, you’ll be amazed by how fresh a meal is when it comes directly from their farm. You will never taste fresh made corn tortillas like these! They are unique.
After 3 nights in the community of El Pedregal, I am grateful for my brief time spent learning alongside community members and to have had the opportunity to play a role in bringing long-term change to the families through this project. This trip also made me appreciate and be grateful for all that I have. I encourage any of you to participate in one of these trips. Not only will you contribute to improving the lives of families, but you will also get to visit other areas of the country and experience the beauty and culture of Nicaragua. What are you waiting for?!
Get hands-on with renewable energy and make a lasting impact in Nicaragua or Nepal. You'll work alongside community members on a GRID project, while experiencing full immersion in rural life and local culture. See upcoming trips!