The closure of the Guatemalan border on March 16 due to the coronavirus resulted in an emergency journey home for the Project Ohio 2020 crew.
With commercial flights between Guatemala and the United States suspended, Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives staff worked quickly to secure a charter flight from Guatemala City to Miami, but encountered difficulty obtaining the necessary clearance to depart the country. With the assistance of the OEC government affairs team and members of Congress, Project Ohio’s flight received approval from the Guatemalan government on March 18.
After additional complications at U.S. customs, an overnight stay in Miami, and a flight to John Glenn Columbus International Airport, the crew reunited with their families at OEC headquarters on March 19.
The day after the Project Ohio team’s emergency departure, EMRE, the local municipal utility, turned on the lights in the village of Tierra Blanca Sebol for the first time – thanks to the successful efforts of Project Ohio.