Members touched by volunteer venture to Bolivia
Village now has power for the first time
Our August 2019 feature story, Building a Brighter World, touched a chord with many members. The volunteer lineman traveled 3,700 miles from their families in North Carolina to connect the rural village of Laphía to electricity.Now the 120 residents of Laphía now have power for their homes and school, and the promise of a better tomorrow. A sampling of your letters follows, along with some photos taken during the trip.
Lighting the way
I’d like to thank Eddie Stephens and Lindsey Listrom for the two articles in the August issue on the volunteer work that NC’s electric co-op workers did in Bolivia (“Changing Lives, a World Away”; “Building a Brighter World”). Tears came to my eyes as I read how meaningful the work was to both the villagers and the volunteers. The articles were a great reminder of how much we have to be grateful for, and how the simple gift of sharing our talent and energy can make others’ lives so much easier.
Kudos to all the volunteers who helped light the way!
Bolivian missionary memories
With great pleasure I read about the NC Electric Cooperatives volunteer trip to Bolivia. Our family lived in Bolivia as missionaries back in the 80's in the cities of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. Today our family truly cherishes the memories of that country including our oldest daughter, Christy Hall Whitaker who works at Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Cooperative.
As I read the articles, I could see the rural village of Laphía so vividly. It is close to a village called Carcaje where my husband and another missionary would go preach. Many times they would take our children along. Just like there is a result of your volunteer trips, there is a result of those missionary trips, and today there is an established church led by a national Pastor today.
I would like to share one treasured memory that stands out for its defining beauty and color. On a beautiful summer day we traveled up those rugged Andes mountains overlooking Cochabamba. Our family clambered up on a large rock overlooking a crystal blue lake. A few minutes later a 10 to 12-year-old Indian came by herding a herd of llamas. She wore her black hair in long braids, wearing a traditional Bolivian hat, poncho and flip flops. For a few moments we were transfixed watching the unique animals against such a pristine backdrop.
A second moment that stands out in my memory, was one evening when we drove outside the sweltering heat of the city of Santa Cruz to a small village. It was dark. Dark like I have not seen here in the states. When we turned the car lights off there was not a light to be seen in any direction. Complete darkness. At first the enormity of the darkness just enveloped us but soon the stars and the same big moon that our friends and family were looking at back home came into focus as our eyes slowly focused. It was a moment of awareness of self but also of the lack that the people had. A lack of light or electricity. A lack or need that your company and its volunteers are so wonderfully providing.
Just as the locals were standing on the hill every morning waiting for your linemen to bring the light, they would wait for the missionary to bring the light of the Gospel. Today my husband continues in the ministry as a Pastor of a local church here in Surry County. Among our churches' missionaries are two that are in Bolivia. One works out of Santa Cruz to the Amazon Jungle. The other works in the city of Cochabamba and the surrounding villages.
Changing people’s lives with the light of the Gospel just like when the lights came on the linemen knew it would change people’s lives forever. Thank You (Gracias) volunteer linemen from North Carolina!
An article in your December issue (“NC Co-ops to Bring Electricity to Bolivian Village”) really touched me, as I was born in Cochabamba City, which is located in the “Departamento de Cochabamba” in Bolivia. The article mentions that NC co-ops are going to Bolivia, specifically to Cochabamba, and obviously just reading the name of the place I was born brought happy memories of living there with my parents.
I came to the United States back in 1960 as a legal immigrant, joined the U.S. Air Force and became a U.S. citizen in 1964.
Thank you for the article that brought me back to my childhood. Gracias.
Positive and moving
Volunteer trip to Bolivia was a positive and moving story. Appreciative of NC Electric Cooperatives for providing expertise and working with people from another culture to enhance their lives.
Volunteer linemen bring electricity to Bolivia
Read more about the work in Laphía in our feature story, Building a Brighter World.