Photo of Ted CaseA few months ago, I wrote about being free from the grips of the pandemic and how life was going to resume to normal after a year-and-a-half pause.

That, it turns out, was premature as the country finds itself in the grips of a variant that has changed our way of life once again.

It’s easy to complain, I suppose. But I look on the bright side—at least I have electricity.

One of my greatest disappointments through this whole ordeal is how the pandemic delayed Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (ORECA’s) plan to electrify the village of Aldea Nueva in central Guatemala. We were on the verge of sending our line crews there when COVID-19 forced a worldwide shut down in March 2020.

It’s not a large project. We planned to electrify 45 homes, along with a school and a health post. But you can imagine the logistics that go into something even at that scale.

My disappointment pales compared to the Guatemalans who were tantalizingly close to coming out of a life that resembles living in the Middle Ages. The project is now on hold until at least 2023.

While the wait seems interminable, we will continue to plan and think about the 1 billion people who, unlike us, do not have the benefits of electricity. ORECA’s Guatemala project will hardly make a dent in that astounding number, but if it means a small village can have a brightly lit schoolhouse, refrigeration, and clean water, then it is worth the effort and the wait.

I have never been to Aldea Nueva. I do not know the people, nor do I speak the language well. But if I could say one thing to them, it would be, “Todavía vamos.”

We’re still coming.

Ted Case
Executive Director