Trek of sheer joy

By Shivani Saklani, GE Power Project Management Specialist

February 14, 2018

I’ll never forget standing in a candle-lit room high in the Himalayas waiting to flip the light switch for the first time—ever. A community of all ages gathered ... children, parents and grandparents...and a team of 8 GE engineers and their guides waiting to blow out the candle. 

We flipped the switch and nothing happened.  It was like our dreams crashed.

It was even more painful thinking for a moment we could not deliver their dreams. That sudden rush of thought was mind boggling. A total of 3 microgrids were used to connect solar power and light the village...we quickly worked to solve the issue and tried again.  This time faces lit up and glowed as the lights did the same. 

I had never experienced such sheer joy.  People shouted, clapped, danced, cried, hugged each-other. We weren’t part of their community but that didn’t matter—we cried out of joy too. There was an elderly woman who couldn’t stop thanking god. It was a proud moment to be an ambassador for GE.

I was also proud of the way our team worked together in this challenging environment. One moment in particular early in the journey signaled how special the team was. During the last part of a very long up mountain trek to the village the team was separated and it began to rain. If you haven’t been to the top of the Himalayas, let me tell you—it is cold.  The water is directly from the glaciers and the wind chills you to the bone.  Still, our team mates waited for us in that shivering cold weather because they wanted the entire team to move along together. With such an attitude, I knew we had won half the battle.

That spirit helped us through the technical challenges of setting up these microgrids in this extremely remote location where any minor miss could have caused us to fail, still we delivered.   

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