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Ali Hoffer

It is one thing to know that people in developing countries live in complete poverty with a lack of access to so many basic resources such as electricity, clean water, and sometimes even food.  It is completely different, however, to go live that life for 2 months, especially after growing up in a developed country with all these comforts and more for 20 years.  I learned a tremendous amount about the resilience and intelligence of people in these rural, developing regions, who despite their poverty work hard every day to educate themselves and better equip themselves with mechanisms to combat the hardships they face.

My specific work was for the water and sanitation team, however, outside of my particular project I took 2 work days to complete a solar panel install with members of the energy team at blueEnergy. I know nothing about electricity or electrical engineering, and this experience of working with other members of blueEnergy as well as interacting with the family members to install the solar panel and wire the house with 6 lightbulbs was incredibly educational, humbling, and rewarding.  Aside from this solar install, on the weekends we often traveled to other rural communities on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua.  Although these trips did not include any work, it was really eye-opening to spend time in these communities, meet the local individuals, and experience their way of life for a few days.

I really feel that my resilience and perseverance have increased by working in this environment. Resilience and perseverance go hand in hand, and are uniquely related to me and my growth since my original project (greywater filtration system at the San Pedro School) proved un-achievable in my time frame due to the saturated soil and thus a new project (draining and drying out the schoolyard in preparation for a greywater filtration system) formed.  This also speaks to adaptability and problem solving as I learned how many times initial project ideas and deadlines may not be achievable, but nonetheless adjustments can be made and new goals can be set to achieve success and still make a difference.

Internship Year: 
2 016
Earth Systems
Company Name: