Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 32

Missouri on a Mission
by Jim McCarty
jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop

Co-op linemen
bring power
to village in
Guatemala

Flash forward to today, and NRECA
International and volunteer electric co-op
lineworkers have wired villages all over
the world, bringing electricity to more
n a mountainside near a remote
than 160 million people in 45 developing
village in Guatemala, nine linecountries. That includes Bolivia, where
men from Missouri stare in awe
Missouri linemen built power lines on
at the deep valley below their
two previous projects.
feet. In the coming days they must build
The latest effort saw the Missouri
a power line that spans this gorge and
linemen leave their families behind just
several others.
before Christmas and fly to Guatemala
The men are part of a project that will
City where they picked up four trucks for their drive to the
bring reliable electricity to the village of Trapichitos for the
mountain village. It would take two days of traveling just
first time. The effort is the third international group projto reach the site, with the last part of the trip a 1 1/2-hour
ect for Missouri's electric cooperatives and one of its most
drive on one of the roughest roads anyone had ever seen.
challenging.
When the Missourians arrived in the village a large
Their job is to build a power line that will connect
crowd had already gathered. Elders from the village made
Trapichitos with a small hydroelectric generator located in
speeches that included thanking the lineman for their help
Batzchocola, which already has electricity.
If they succeed, a second group of Missouri electric co-op and prayers for their safety. Kids darted around the group,
laughing and playing with toys handed out by their new
linemen will return to wire homes. On this, their first day
friends.
in the village, it seems like a big "if."
After a promise to bring electricity to the village from
"I thought I had some rough areas where I work," says
Black River Electric lineman Chris Turner, whose work area project leader Tim Pirtle, a training instructor for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, the group got to
includes the rugged St. Francois Mountains and Missouri's
work planning the effort. They divided into two teams. One
highest point. "This blows it out of the water."
would string wire in the village while the other set to work
As if the rugged terrain wasn't enough of a challenge,
framing poles on the mountainside.
these men arrived in Guatemala with few of the tools they
Typical of these projects, some of the material was misswould normally use to build power lines. For them it was
ing and many of the poles had yet to be set. The question
a throwback to the 1930s when electric cooperatives first
became how to set multiple poles and their anchors, while
wired rural areas in the United States.
pulling miles of wire up and down the steep mountainside
"I've never known anything but bucket trucks and all
through a jungle landscape that had yet to be cleared. The
the tools to do the job," says Jake Mebruer, a lineman for
answer came in the large group of men from the village who
Boone Electric Cooperative. At 26 years old, he was the
were determined to lend a hand.
youngest member of the group. "It's kind of neat coming
Armed with machetes, the villagers set to work clearhere and not having any of that. We are doing everything
ing thick vegetation that
the old-school way."
included banana, orange
The project was one
and lemon trees. They
of several taking place in
continually amazed their
Guatemala in 2019 as the
new friends with their
National Rural Electric
ability to walk up and
Cooperative Association's
down seemingly impossiInternational Program
ble mountainsides with
pulled out all the stops
ease.
to bring electricity to
"The workers here are
unserved areas in this
unreal," says Tom Greer,
Central American nation.
a veteran lineman from
NRECA International beLaclede Electric. "There's
gan in 1962 following the
a couple lines through
25th anniversary of the
here that are real steep. I
rural electrification prowas sitting there scratchgram in the U.S. Its goal
ing my head about how
was to export the electric
are we going to get that
cooperative model to dewire up and over and
veloping countries where
about 20 of them just
people were living without Black River Electric lineman Chris Turner teams up with two Guatemalans to
grabbed ahold of that wire
the benefits of electricity.
drag a power line up a steep mountainside during the project.

O

32

RURAL MISSOURI | MARCH 2020



Rural Missouri - March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - March 2020

Contents
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 4
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 5
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 6
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 7
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 8
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 9
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 10
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 11
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 12
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 13
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 14
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 15
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 16
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 17
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 18
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 19
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 20
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 21
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 22
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 23
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 24
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 25
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 26
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 27
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 28
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 29
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 30
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 31
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 32
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 33
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 34
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 35
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 36
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 37
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 38
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 39
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 40
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 41
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 42
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 43
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 44
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 45
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 46
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 47
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 48
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 49
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 50
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 51
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 52
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 53
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 54
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 55
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 56
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 57
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - 58
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - March 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202008
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202006
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202005
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202002
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201912
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201911
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201908
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201907
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201906
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201905
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201903
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201902
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201812
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201811
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201808
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201807
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201806
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201805
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201803
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201802
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201706
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201705
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201703
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201702
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201608
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201606
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201605
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201603
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201602
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201508
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201507
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201505
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201504
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201503
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201502
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201501
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201411
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201408
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201407
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201406
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201405
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201404
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201402
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201311
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201308
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201307
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201306
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201305
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201303
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201302
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201301
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201208
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201207
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201206
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201205
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201204
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201202
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201201
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201111
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201108
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/videotest
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201010
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com