2006-05-25 / Letters to the Editor

Bolivian project needs help

As many of you know my son David Reynolds has spent the last 20 months in the Peace Corps living in Bolivia. He lives in a remote village called Alcala in the Andes Mountains. The village consists of about 300 families. There is electricity (sometimes), no heat in the houses, and little refrigeration so no butter, cheese or milk. Bathrooms are outside, and kitchens do not have stoves to cook on. There is one telephone that is shared by everyone who lives in the village. Occasionally, there is Internet access but that often depends on weather, electricity, and funding allotted by the mayor on any given month. The closest city, about the size of Newport, is a 5-hour bus ride away on a dirt road (chickens ride too). Just in case you were planning to see it for your self, it might be difficult because there is not a restaurant or a hotel in the village. Yes, it is a poor, remote place and very different from anything we are familiar with.

Yet, it is filled with culture, companionship, families, friends, local celebrations, children, laughter, and love. The goal of Dave's project is to allow the Matela Women's Organization to advance their work in bringing their agricultural products, such as canned peaches, marmalades, and peanut butter, to city markets. Due to its isolated location, much of the year's harvest rots before any transportation can be arranged to city markets. In Matela, it is estimated that a minimum of 50 percent of the annual peach crop is lost to rotting every year.

The construction of the community transformation center will allow the women to preserve and improve their agricultural products in a clean and efficient manner. The center will consist of two rooms, including an industrial kitchen for preparing and preserving the products, as well as ample storage space. The center will function as a small business. It will produce an alternative form of income for local families as well as extend economic power to the women. The community will contribute locally available materials and labor.

Partnership funding is needed to purchase materials for construction, transportation, and canning materials.

If you would like to contribute to Dave's project, go to

www.peacecorps.gov, click on donate now, click on Latin America, click on Bolivia, and look for David Reynolds (Rhode Island)

The funds needed to complete this project are $3,073. Any amount will be greatly appreciated. If you have questions please feel free to contact Sandra Reynolds.

Thank you. Sandra and David Reynolds,

Jamestown

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