Singing River Electric brings light to villagers in Guatemala

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It's hard to believe that there are people in the world still living without electricity. As foreign as the concept seems to us, it's the reality in many places including parts of Guatemala. Thanks to some employees of Singing River Electric Power Association, each year, a little more light comes to Guatemala.

For two weeks Singing River Electric's linemen worked from sun up to sun down building power lines for villagers living in the mountains who have never had electricity.

"I was shocked at how many people don't have anything over there. They don't have any kind of power, no wells, water sources or anything like that," lineman Chris Guillotte said.

Guillotte said bringing light to the homes was not easy, but worth it. Each villager received one socket, one outlet and a light bulb.

"There was definitely a wow factor for them, and they were definitely grateful for everything."

Buck Williams agrees. He worked for weeks in the country during a 2011 trip.

"You have to understand Guatemalans are so excited about us coming that they actually dug holes for the poles we had set. Some of the wiring in their homes they had already established," Williams said.

The goal of the trip was not only to provide power, but for Mississippi to shine a light of love across the world.

"We also did some extra work on the weekends going to orphanages. Churches had done several donations for them balls, coloring books you name them all kinds of things," Guillotte said.

Crew members said the major lesson this trip taught them was generosity does pay off.

"There is a reward in giving. We have the expertise and knowledge in building power lines and electrifying villages, but to be able to share that and changing people's quality of life then again is so rewarding," said Williams.

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association funds and coordinates the yearly relief mission. This is the fifth year the Singing River Electric has participated in the program.

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