Festivities for the inauguration celebration kicked off early yesterday morning with a band playing live music. The entire village came together to celebrate the arrival of electricity in their community, and to formally thank our linemen for their contributions.

There were many words of thanks, but perhaps the most meaningful part of the celebration was a symbolic gesture. As a token of gratitude, ten men from the village – including the village leader – each gave their own personal machete to a lineman. The villagers explained how useful the machetes have been to them in their lives, and expressed hope that they will find good use in the lives of the linemen, too.

The linemen left the mountain with far less luggage than they brought with them. In addition to the donated goods collected by co-op employees, the lineworkers left behind many of their own personal items that they felt would be useful to the villagers, such as sweaters, flashlights and shoes.

“I’ll have to buy some boots when I get home,” laughed Wolverine Safety Specialist Matt Monroe. “But, I know the villager I gave mine to will put them to good use.”