Andrew is working in the rural community of Candelaria in the Boaco department (state). Normally it is a 30-45 minute bus ride and a 20 minute walk if the road is in good enough shape for the chicken bus to make it in. We were fortunate enough to be able to get a ride to Candelaria with some Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) volunteers in their truck. We enjoyed beautiful scenery driving in as well as seeing how the houses are constructed in this part of the country – more mud and sticks than cement. We met Andrew at his family’s house where we met part of the family and saw his room. Andrew always has something going on in his house as he shares he room with two nesting hens, other chickens, mice, and any other animal that decides to visit. Candelaria has a population of around 450 people and is one of the poorer communities in the area.
Andrew is working with the MCC workers and with AsoFenix, a local non-governmental organization (NGO) that helps rural communities with food, water, and sustainable energy. He has learned that he needs to be flexible as plans constantly change. Andrew eats lunch at Maria’s house every day and was able to help build a new biodigester for her. In order for Maria to use her gas stove, she needs to mix manure with water and pour it into the biodigester. With time, there will be enough methane produced to use the gas stove for about 5 consecutive hours. Andrew is hoping to see the gas stove working before he leaves and is going to be helping Maria mix manure daily.
Several years ago, AsoFenix helped put in a solar powered water tank, but with time the tank has developed a few leaks. Andrew and his host father repainted it the day before we visited. When they went to the store to buy paint, they were only able to purchase one can of special red paint that helps fix the leaks. They were able to fix most of the leaks and were going to fill up the tank with water again when we were there.
Andrew has had the opportunity to travel to a few other communities and see the difference that Asofenix’s projects have made. He has adjusted well to community life and the members of the community have enjoyed having him participate in their daily lives.