The community of Colocondo is centered around a dirt courtyard surrounded by small homes, a community store, and the school house. A short distance away the Colocondo River winds through the mountains before crashing down Colodondo Falls in Tisey Estanzuela Natural Reserve. The community has a partnership with SONATI, a nonprofit ecotourism organization which brings tourists to a community to see the natural beauty and in return the community pledges to conserve and protect that natural beauty. As part of this partnership, SONATI also works to improve the community in other ways, bringing in educational materials, course ideas and educating the adults on numerous public health initiatives. As part of this desire to improve the community, SONATI partnered with USI to bring electricity to a classroom which previously used kerosene lights to light their classrooms when necessary.
The classroom at Colocondo now has a 500-watt solar array which lights their classroom inside and out and allows for phone charging, TV and video equipment, a CD player, and a computer to use for classes. This represents a huge step for Colocondo and progress towards what large parts of the rest of the world take for granted. The impact this system will have on this community was seen in the faces of the kids who, off from school while the construction was going on, still stayed glued to the school house, watching through the open air windows as the wires were strung through the ceiling and lights were installed from the rafters.
We are very happy to say that Colocondo now has a sustainable source of energy to use for the education of their community and to power their phones and connect them to the world beyond.