Mid-Missouri electric linemen helped bring power to West Africa

2 years 2 months 1 day ago Tuesday, March 27 2018 Mar 27, 2018 Tuesday, March 27, 2018 11:49:00 AM CDT March 27, 2018 in News
By: Pat Mueller, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Two Boone Electric Cooperative linemen volunteered three weeks of their vacation time to help bring power to a small rural town in Africa. 

Lead lineman Jeremy Wooden and Overhead Construction Foreman Jason Toalson were in Totota, Liberia from February 17 to March 10. The service project was run via the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

Before the project, people in Liberia relied on dry-cell batteries, candles and lanterns for light at night.

"The way we can just charge our phones whenever we need to, or flip on a light switch in the middle of the night, we really take it for granted," Wooden said.

Toalson said Liberia residents are excited to finally see at night.

"They won't have enough power for TVs, washers or dryers," Toalson said. "All it is is two plug-ins and a light bulb."

Along with two NRECA linemen from Bolivia, Wooden and Toalson showed locals how to run power lines and install utility poles. More than 19,000 feet of wire was used and 140 poles were put up.

"They've never built any kind of electric structure before, or hung any wire," Wooden said. "It was neat to teach them and see them get the hang of it."

Toalson said the project is solar-based, since Liberia is so close to the equator. 

"The sun is a lot more powerful down there, so solar energy is more efficient," Toalson said. 

A co-op from Texas is providing the solar panels that will be the finishing touch of the project.

The only other American the pair encountered in Africa was a Lutheran priest. The priest was skeptical of the electricity project.

"From his perspective, he's been there for 7 or 8 years, so I can see how he had his doubts," Wooden said. "He couldn't believe it, but it's happening." 

Both of the Boone County linemen said the lack of easy access to water and electricity wasn't the most difficult part of the trip.

"I missed my family a ton," Toalson said. "After week two I was ready to head home and see my kids."

Luckily, the pair was able to talk to their wives and kids via the app WhatsApp, so long as the spotty Wi-Fi was cooperating.    

Unfortunately, the duo won't be there when the lights finally come on.

"I think we created a friendship, cause they were sad to see us go," Toalson said. 

Four-hundred families in Liberia will have power to light their homes once the project is complete. Toalson and Wooden are in touch with the linemen that will finish what they started.

Boone Electric Cooperative said it tries to send a few linemen on NRECA-sponsored trips like this one at least once per year. 

NRECA has power projects designed to serve millions of people in more than 43 countries.    

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA — An employee at The Bluffs in Columbia tested positive for COVID 19, executive director Donna Bowers announced in... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 8:33:14 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
US— The fraught, freighted number of this particular American moment is a round one brimming with zeroes: 100,000. A hundred... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 8:31:26 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia will not be collecting residential recycling curbside the week of May 25 after Columbia/Boone... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 6:33:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
FULTON - Three people were arrested on drug charges after a narcotics search occurred at 1504 Monroe Street in Fulton.... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 6:31:16 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - At his daily COVID-19 press briefing, Governor Mike Parson announced that Missouri has so far been exceeding... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 4:06:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE - The City of Boonville relies heavily on their summer tourism season with attractions like the Katy Trail, Isle... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 2:57:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA —Americans are finally sending their own up to space again. When SpaceX's postponed rocket launch finally lifts off on... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 2:45:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Two 16-year-olds are being held on arson charges in connection to a May 11 fire at the Flanders... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 2:20:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - An employee at the Forum Boulevard location of Schnucks has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a company... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 1:59:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The launch of a SpaceX rocket ship with two NASA astronauts on a history-making flight... More >>
16 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 12:02:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. You can find... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 6:57:00 AM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – The messy weather pattern we’ve been in is about to head east and we’ll be left with cooler... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:57:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in Weather
LAKE OF THE OZARKS —After videos of a crowded Lake of the Ozarks bar went viral over Memorial Day weekend,... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:45:58 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - With schools closed and after school programs cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the community has gotten creative... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:37:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY — Deputies from the Callaway County Sheriff's Office arrested an 18-year-old from Tebbetts on Monday. Just after... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:03:11 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Some elementary and middle schools in Jefferson City will be holding drive-through celebrations for students. ... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 8:49:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA —A formal plea of not guilty in the murder of Mengqi Ji was filed on behalf of Joseph... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 8:22:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 66°
4am 65°
5am 64°
6am 63°
7am 65°