Voices 08/30/06

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Topic: Profiles of two Maine based groups working with international communities. Interviews with Alexander Petroff of the Topsham (Maine) based group Working Villages International, and Patrick Manley, of the Washington (Maine) based Masons on a Mission.

Working Villages International, www.workingvillages.org, is working with communities in the DR Congo, to create sustainable villages. From their website: Working Villages International /Villages de l’Avenir is a new NGO, established for the purpose of promoting the development of sustainable communities stressing low cost appropriate technology and the use of local materials and skills, with the goal of raising the standard of living and improving the quality of life of the people living in them. WVI’s goal is to promote practices which emphasize agricultural independence and community self-sufficiency in conjunction with sound environmental practices.

Masons on a Mission, www.midcoast.com/masonsonamission, work with Maya families in Guatemala, replacing hazardous three stone fires with less smoky stoves built from local materials. From their website: Our mission is mobilize North American masons and other interested parties to build safe masonry cook stoves for impoverished Maya in Central America, and to train local Maya in cook stove construction in order to improve public health in the region.
Masons on a Mission (MOM) is now a IRS tax exempt charitable foundation, and part of the National Heritage Foundation. All donations made to MOM are tax deductible.
We are replacing what are known as 3 stone fires, with hand built masonry cook stoves, known locally as estufas, or la plancha. The 3 stone has a fire in the middle of 3 stones set as a triangle, with a metal plate (often the lid from a 55 gallon drum) laid over the top to cook on. These 3 stone fires are commonly located within a dwelling, providing heat as well.
This February 2007 we will be based in San Marco la laguna, again building estufas in the that area. We will also accept donations earmarked for buying emergency supplies, beds, blankets, water filters, food etc for the people of San Marcos, who are still digging out from under 6 feet of rock and gravel that slammed thru town during Hurricane Stan a year ago.