Photos by Mike Libecki
Rain taps on the roof of the tent as Goal Zero ambassador Lilliana Libecki plucks away on her mandolin, huddled together with a small crew of family members at the base of a mountain. A string of Light-A-Life Lights illuminates the faces of these adventurous souls who will soon be climbing Ishinca, a peak that tops out at just over 18,000 feet and rests in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range in the Peruvian Andes.
The prospect of summiting a stunning mountain is a source of great joy for the 14-year-old explorer, but it is not the only thing that brought Lilliana to this corner of the world. Just a few days prior, she and her father, fellow Goal Zero ambassador and National Geographic Explorer Mike Libecki, teamed up with Goal Zero employees, Dell, and Human Outreach Project to work on a humanitarian project in the Peruvian town of Pashpa.
Every year Goal Zero strives to empower human potential by installing solar power in different communities across the globe. In Pashpa, the mission was to set up a computer lab within the community that would allow kids to study and develop important technological skills for years to come. To ensure that the space is never devoid of sustainable, reliable power, the team installed nine Boulder 90 solar panels on the roof and supplied it with two Yeti 1250 portable power stations, 10 Light-A-Life 350 lights, and 20 brand new Dell laptop computers.
“A big part for us at Goal Zero and World Wide Trekking [and Dell] is not to just come in and set up something and leave it and hope that everything gets taken care of, but to go back and make sure that everything is being maintained,” says Goal Zero employee Nick Mathis. “We want to make it sustainable so it’s something that lasts for their future.”
After setting the lab up with power and helping to train community members on using the computers, Mike, Lilliana and a few close family members set off to climb two mountains in the region, Ishinca and Tocllaraju. Though they successfully summited the first snow-capped peak, a feeling that their humanitarian work was not yet done pushed them to change their course of action.
“As I lay in my tent in basecamp at night, I wondered if we had done everything we could for the school in Pashpa,” says Lilliana.
With a desire to do more in hand, they made the call to sacrifice their second climb and headed back to Pashpa to continue working with the community instead.
“The reason why I do these humanitarian expeditions is to bring joy to others. That’s why I’m calling what we’re doing here, Joyineering,” says Lilliana.