My name is Ana Rebeca Mendiola Sanchez. I am 26 years old and live in Solidaridad, a small town just outside of Condega. I am very grateful to have been helped by Asla for more than 4 years so that I could study, and am thrilled to share my news that I graduated in September with my degree in Renewable Energy Engineering. I studied at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua(UNAN) in Esteliand also did some course work at the UNAN branch in Managua.
I would never have been able to study and graduate without my scholarship because I only receive help from my mother. My family includes my mother, 2 brothers and a sister. My mother is not with my father, and she works very hard to support all of us. Recently she was ill for 5 months, and we are all thankful that she is better now.
Right now I do not have a job, but I am looking. The economy in Nicaragua is worse than ever due to the unrest here at this time. We all hope and pray that peace will return. I hope to work for a non-profit that provides renewable energy to communities in the rural areas where there is no electricity. I did my practicum with a non-profit that installed renewable energy in the poorest communities. We would go to these communities by 4 wheel drive vehicle and also by walking for an hour or more. In one community we installed solar panels and a battery for the school and also for each family so they would be able to have light at night. We also helped to make more energy-saving stoves for cooking which use less wood. In many of these rural communities there are few men because they leave to find work to help the families. They usually go to Costa Rica, Panama, or the U.S. The women often raise bees so they can sell honey to supplement what their husbands can send home. The families eat iguanas, rice, and beans most of the time. I so enjoyed working with these communities and hope that I can find a job in the area.
Thank you, Asla, for giving me this opportunity to better my life and that of my family.