We calculated that we needed about 150 poles which would be made from trees. At first I was concerned that all the trees in the area would be cut down for this purpose, but when we tasked two of our employees, Adolfo and Santiago, to get us a dozen poles to start with, they came up with a great solution. It was a great case of appropriate technology.
Their solution came from the Madreado tree, which grows like crazy here. The people use their straight branches as fence poles for their barbed wire fences. When you cut off a branch of this tree and stick it in the ground, it does not die. Instead, it sprouts leaves and, presumably, roots. So almost all the barbed wire fences in this part of rural Honduras are constructed with these trees. New fences look like bare posts, but old fences look like rows of trees. I shot the following video of some cows walking by a fence like this. They look like uniformly sized trees in a straight line.
Anyway, Adolfo and Santiago used these madreado trees as power poles. So in a few years, instead of having fewer trees, they will actually have more trees - albeit connected by wires.
After they put in the first dozen poles, Adolfo and Walter began running the first spool of wire! Walter has a bad arm that resulted from a childhood injury, but he can lift more with his left arm than I can with both of mine.