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Former City Parks Chief Plants Trees in Nicaragua

SOURCE: El Porvenir
Elderhostel tour involves volunteers in reforestation, sanitation, and safe water initiatives.
Ralvin Buikema, retired Baltimore City Director of Parks, recently donated a CD player to a day care center in Camoapa, Nicaragua while in that country on an Elderhostel trip sponsored by El Porvenir, a 30-year-old non-governmental organization that helps the poor in Nicaragua. The trip's purpose was to help with reforestation by planting trees and building "ecostoves." As part of experiencing the local culture, the day care center was visited by Elderhostel participants and the children performed a folk dance. The day care facility's principal apologized that they had no music. In a prepared statement to the press, Buikema is quoted as saying, "I felt bad that they didn't have music and decided to buy them the CD player."

The Elderhostel group chipped in and gave the center money to buy CDs.

El Porvenir provided tools and materials for the Elderhostel group, whose members traveled from all over the U.S. from as far as Hawaii to plant trees and build the stoves.

The average per capita income in Nicaragua is $2500 per year. El Porvenir seeks to provide safe water and sanitation. The "ecostoves" reduce wood-burning by 50%, not only saving trees but improving indoor air quality.

For more information about El Porvenir go to

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This story was published on December 12, 2006.