Improving Mesquite Flour Production in Oaxaca
Who We Are
Projects with Underserved Communities (PUC) is a year long, project based class in which engineering and social work students are teamed up to work with an abroad community. The team works very closely with international organizations and the community to identify and prioritize the needs of the community and then designs a project to fulfill those. Finally, in the summer, the team travels to and stays with the community while implementing and overseeing the completion of the project, all while developing meaningful relationships with the locals whose lives the project actually impacts. Students gain hands-on experience in a global setting combining technical engineering and service.
Why We Need Your Help
Our team is partnered with the town of Suchilquitongo in Oaxaca, Mexico. We are comprised of five students: Archik, Gaby, Hannah I., Ryan, and Hannah M., all of whom are studying mechanical engineering besides our one social work minor, Hannah I. Together, we are joining efforts with the non-governmental organization (NGO) Tejiendo Alianzas, or Interweaving Alliances, to get this project completed. This NGO is a participatory community program that helps residents create value from their own resources encouraging sustainability.
The mesquite tree is very abundant in this area of southern Mexico and its bean pods were used by the indigenous people in the past to be milled into flour. This tradition slowly faded away in the modern era, but with the help from organizations like Tejiendo Alianzas, people are returning to their roots. The mesquite flour is a great economic opportunity for the Oaxacans. Last year, PUC Team Mexico designed and constructed a solar oven to dry the pods, a beginning step in the flour production process. While this has significantly increased output, there is still much in this process that can be improved upon.
With your donation, we will be able to refine Oaxacan mesquite flour production in many ways. Some of our potential projects include a greenhouse-like structure to protect the drying and stored pods from sudden rainstorms, a vacuum sealed storage system, and a silica bead based drying system. The money raised will also go toward in-country project and technical advisor costs. Donate now and help us cultivate a stable economic opportunity with the community of Suchilquitongo!