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Alberta Yazzie

Dig Deep

Water and Solar Technician – Navajo Nation

Alberta Yazzie is a water and solar technician for Dig Deep, a non-profit founded by George McGraw that works to ensure that every American has clean, running water.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Alberta had been installing water and solar systems for people who didn’t have running water in Navajo Nation. With the backing of Dig Deep’s Navajo Water Project Director, Emma Robbins, Alberta’s focus evolved as the crisis grew. At the request of the local Community Health Representatives (CHRs) and Dilkon’s chapter manager, Alberta now applies her skills to support residents in the most remote areas of Navajo Nation and delivers water to those at the highest health risk.

A welder by trade, Alberta went to school to learn how to install photovoltaic systems (PV), or solar energy. By joining Dig Deep in February, Alberta was able to combine her valuable education in building solar energy systems and her metalworking skills to install water pumps and heaters for running water, constructing all of the required connectors for both.

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"It's rewarding when I conduct an initial water assessment for a Navajo Nation resident who hasn't had running water or electricity for all or most of their lives," said Alberta. "When they realize that they will soon have clean, running water, a water heater, and LED lighting, it can be life-changing. It's motivating for me when I see them smile, as they know someone cares about them and is committed to their well-being."

Alberta

Approximately 173,000 people live in the Navajo Nation, and between 30% to 40% of the homes don't have running water. In the absence of a reliable water supply, families frequently share the same pans to wash their hands or drive long distances to "border towns" to fill water barrels. Both situations introduce a variety of risks for residents and challenges for Navajo leaders in combating coronavirus on the Nation. As a result, the effort to deliver clean, running water to the Diné (Navajo People) is an urgent priority for Alberta and Dig Deep

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"A big part of my job is educating residents and local partners about the possibilities for clean energy in the Navajo Nation," said Alberta. "When installed properly, and if you take the time to teach residents how to maintain their new systems, we can bring water and electricity systems to people who need these resources, especially high-risk and elderly residents. This work enables the Navajo people to stay home during the pandemic and potentially saves lives."

Alberta

Alberta's passion for bringing clean water and energy to the most rugged and remote areas is rooted in life experience. She's lost friends and loved ones to COVID-19 and prays for her family, first responders, CHRs, and others on the front lines of the Navajo Nation's response effort. Still, she envisions what she does as a partnership with the people she serves in Navajo Nation.

"When there is an emergency, I will find a way to help no matter what," said Alberta. "However, without Dig Deep, I would not have the resources to go in the field every day and help the Navajo people live their lives to the fullest."

Alberta

Alberta Yazzie is from the Seba Delkia region of Navajo Nation, known to locals as "the home of the cowboys." When she is not working, you can find Alberta tending to or riding horses. Alberta joined Dig Deep in February 2020. Soon thereafter, Alberta was approached by a Dilkon chapter official to see if she and Dig Deep would be willing to join the COVID-19 response in Navajo Nation by providing clean water and solar power to residents in remote areas. Alberta has a son who serves as a corpsman in the U.S. Navy and is stationed in Italy.

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