From January 2-14, 2011, TWP board member Patrick Flynn will be leading a group of 17, including 11 Virginia Tech students and Blacksburg, Virginia residents, to San Jose de Bocay, Nicaragua on a service learning project. The mission of the visit is to build fuel-efficient cookstoves for 25 low-income families.
In late October of 2010, Claudia Menendez, TWP’s International Program Coordinator, and Juan Jose, a Proleña stove technician, traveled to the mountain town of Bocay to assess the current cooking practices and fuelwood consumption trends of residents. With the help of community leaders, Claudia and Juan were able to identify potential cookstove beneficiaries. Based on their observations, Proleña, TWP’s partner organization in Nicaragua, has designed a stove suited to the cooking needs of the women in Bocay. With the help of VT students and other tour participants, 25 women will have fuel-efficient cookstoves built in their homes, greatly reducing the indoor air pollution, fuel wood costs, and deforestation in Bocay.
During the 1980’s, the town of Bocay was in the middle of the Contra War zone, and was a refugee center for families fleeing the surrounding violence. Since 1989, the Sister City group has worked with town residents to build a school, buy computers, athletic uniforms and equipment.
In total, the group has provided over $150,000 in funding to Bocay.
TWP is happy to help bring residents of Virginia together with residents of Bocay to complete sustainable development projects. Safe travels!