Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 24
Left: Residents of the two villages turned out in force for the inauguration ceremony. Right: Light spills through the cracks in one of the homes for the first time after power was turned on.
"As an inside wireman, I've been able to go into the homes," Steve says.
One group of thirsty linemen was saved by a friendly resident of Dos de
Junio, who stops by with a cold bottle of Coke and a sleeve of plastic cups. This "These people take a lot of pride in what they have. Things are clean, even
will be the trend for the next two weeks as the locals discover why the men are though it may not look like it. Their kitchen areas, if they have pots and pans
on the wall they are hung in order so they can use them. The dust can get
in their towns and do their best to help.
"It's been an experience I'll never forget," says SEMO Electric's Jared Kelley. pretty stiff out here. I'm very impressed that their clothes look clean all the
time. I just don't know how they can get that done because when I get back to
"This is a poor area but the people are very appreciative of us being here."
Craig told his group that flexibility would be the key once they arrived in the hotel, I just look like a mud pit."
For $40 each, the 360 villagers can become a member of the cooperative and
Bolivia, and he was right. "We have a few challenges," he says after that first
day on the job. "Our material has been scarce and some of the tools are stuck get their house wired with two outlets and two lights. Their future electric bills
are expected to be around $3 per month.
in Customs. So we are working with some primitive tools at this time."
The linemen learn that electricity means a lot to these simple people. The
But these men are veterans at restoring power after ice storms, floods, tornados and even hurricanes. No one is as resourceful as an American lineman, first house wired belongs to a man and woman who are deaf and mute. The
and this group proves to be no exception. The volunteers knew going into the woman's mother hitches rides so she can help her daughter. Now that electricproject they would be working without the equipment - such as bucket and ity will relieve some of her burdens, the mother says she can stay home.
At another house being wired by the team, a couple relates that they are
digger derrick trucks - they take for granted back home.
"We are all linemen and we all know how to adapt to what we have," says waiting for electricity before moving into their new home, which like many others will do double duty as a tienda, or store, selling refreshments.
Brandon Steffen from West Central Electric. "Climbing, that's what we do."
A group of kids speaks up through an interpreter, saying they want electricThey are prepared to climb every pole, and some of them twice. Later many
would comment that they climbed more poles during their time in Bolivia than ity because they are afraid of the dark. They want to watch TV, but "just a little
they had in their entire career. "Back home we've got bucket trucks and electric bit." One of the boys says he does his homework early because if he waits too
drills," says Laclede Electric's John Winther. "Here we've got their drill that you long, he will have to use a candle in order to see.
As the project winds down, the linemen learn that, due to politics, the viljust crank by hand. Other than that, it is the same type of work. The way we
lages will not be getting street lights. They pass the hat and quickly raise close
hang things on the poles, we are doing that to the same REA specs."
To keep the job moving while they wait for the tools to arrive, the crews start to $1,000. NRECA International and C.E.R. kick in more money. It's enough to
work on secondary lines that don't need crossarms. In just two days, they buy 15 lights. On Sunday morning, just before the inaugural celebration, the
linemen hang the lights where they
knock out all of the secondary work in
will do the most good.
Their generosity doesn't end here.
Then the hard part begins. "Today
Some pay the membership fee so that
we are stringing three phase through
more of the villagers can receive elechere," says Osage Valley Electric
tricity. They also leave their tools with
Cooperative's Tom Golder. "You can
the local linemen who will need them
see by looking at all of the material on
to maintain the new lines.
the ground that it's all heavy. We have
They came as strangers, but they
two handlines for the whole crew, so
left as friends. "I was a little anxious
it's going to take awhile."
about getting down here, but once we
Tom is the first Missourian to climb
were down here and set up, it's been
a pole during the project, and he
really enjoyable," says Rob Hawkins
quickly discovers that it isn't going to
from Boone Electric. "We were here
be easy. The poles are made from presto teach and to help, and to get them
sure-treated eucalyptus wood. Besides
going better with their structures.
being much harder than anything the
Hopefully they catch on and start
Americans have ever climbed, they
planning for a better tomorrow."
also are much smaller than poles used
in the United States.
Order a copy of "A Brighter Bolivia,"
Despite the challenges, which
a hardbound book that includes more
improve as the job progresses, the
photographs from Rural Missouri Editask of framing 220 poles and stringtor Jim McCarty. Cost is $20 per copy,
ing 10 miles of line is accomplished
two days ahead of schedule. That The Missouri team included (back row, from left) John Winther, Laclede Electric; Rob Hawkins, plus shipping. The proceeds will help
leaves the Missouri team free to help Boone Electric; Steve Joannes, Central Electric Power; Tom Golder, Osage Valley Electric; Steve pay for the next project. To order, call
573-659-3423 or visit www.ruralmSteve Joannes work on the inside wir- Smith, Northeast Power; (front row, from left) Brandon Steffen, West Central Electric; Craig
ing. It is an eye-opening experience.
Moeller, Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and Jared Kelley, SEMO Electric.
RURALMISSOURI | OCTOBER 2016
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2016
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Intro
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Contents
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 4
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 5
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 6
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 7
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 8
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 9
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 10
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 11
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 12
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 13
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 14
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 15
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 16
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 17
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 18
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 19
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 20
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 21
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 22
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Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 24
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 25
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 26
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 27
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 28
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 29
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 30
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 31
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Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 36
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Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 38
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Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 40
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Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 42
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Cover4