“My name is Estella Gutierez, I’m fifty-two-years-old. A friend of the community, Balvina, the director of the Civil Engineering and Environmental Faculty was in contact with Rodrigo Paris, who inquired whether there were any women ready to participate in a solar panel workshop. My friend contacted me and said, ‘Estella, you always want to participate in everything, you should offer your participation.’ So I asked my husband’s opinion. I was surprised to see he wasn’t against the idea.
“Two months went by from the time my friend spoke to me about the project to the moment Rodrigo wished to speak to me, so we welcomed him. I had many doubts; I have no diploma; I don’t know how to read. Rodrigo explained that everything is color-coded. Still, I can tell you that, once there, even if everything is color-coded, it is tough to learn because no one speaks Spanish, only a lot of English.”
“Were you fearful of the trip?”
“Not at all. Not of the trip or the distance.”
“You’ve already traveled?”
“Only to Quito. This was the first time I was so far away from my husband and children for such a long time.”
“How many women did you meet in Tilonia during your training?”
“There were around fifty or so from eleven countries: Burundi, Philippines, Cameroon, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, South Sudan, and… I don’t remember. We were two women per room. I was with Patricia. It was incredible to meet so many women from different countries, and we understood each other even though we didn’t speak the same language.”