Fundraising for Engineers Without Borders San Francisco Professional chapter

Our El Llanito Nicaragua water supply project team is working on our annual Engineers Without Borders – San Francisco Professional chapter annual fundraising gala, SFari 2017, at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco on Thursday, October 19th beginning at 7PM.

Our project team is also applying for a $6k grant for the water project from our chapter. The requirements we need to fulfill to obtain the grant include two chapter-wide fundraisers. We are launching these and would appreciate your support. Please consider donating or registering to participate in our September 30th, walk (or bike) the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito – ferry back to San Francisco Ferry Building. Ticket includes sandwich lunch with soft drink and ferry ticket.

Please share these with your network. For direct links to our online fundraisers see:

For the walk/bike across the Golden Gate Bridge take ferry back, see:

Engineers Without Borders is a nonprofit that focuses on sustainable engineering solutions to solve problems in developing countries. Our chapter ( specifically has seven project teams. This event goes to supporting all of our projects in these communities and we focus on the needs that were proposed to us which could be sanitation, healthcare, water access or a variety of other issues that developing world communities face.

CWC TVW Critique groups run year round

At our last meeting of the California Writers Club Tri-Valley Writers Branch this season, President, Patricia Boyle, asked me to speak about our STEM critique group.

I was happy to. As my members page indicates, in part:

Patrick D. Coyle journals and writes memoir and personal stories about travel and sustainable development. His short memoirTime of Your Life, won first place in Impressions, the Las Positas College 2015 anthology.

Other memoirs have been published in the Voices of the Valley: Word For Word, Encore, and First Press, California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch anthologies (2015, 2013, and 2011); 4th Street Studio’s Livermore Wine Country Literary Harvest and Saturday Salon Literary Harvest anthologies.

I’ve been involved in critique since I joined the Tri-Valley Writers Branch in 2005 as a charter member. My good friend and mentor, Hector Timourian, led this group until he he handed it off. I picked up the responsibility to “clerk for us,” getting the announcement out to people about when the monthly meetings are coming up, letting people know who has submitted pieces, and showing up to facilitate the critique session discussion.

I’ve benefited from the feedback from others, reading the diversity of others pieces, and offering comments about what I liked, what gave me pause, and suggestions.

The monthly critique sessions also encourages me to write, to get a piece ready to submit for critique. I don’t like to be empty handed.

I joke with others that my only hope is that writing is a learnable craft.

We continue the STEM critique group through the summer.

I encourage you to write, to check out our CWC TVW branch, and to consider the critique groups as a way to improve your writing.

Heading for Belize after great week in Nicaragua

This was a very productive week. I’m leaving for Belize tomorrow, returning home Saturday mid-day.

With our NGO partner, Alcance Nicaragua, I visited all four of the communities that we are working in. I documented the construction status of our composting latrines in Los Alvarez and El Llanito, near Santa Lucia in Boaco; and El Tunel and La Prussia, near Masaya and Granada. In addition, we were able to talk to the builders, community organizers, and individual family members who are participating in the project. I captured suggestions and observations from the builders to consider for future design improvements.


While I was not able to meet with Martha Castillo Ocon, my point of contact for the Masaya Rotary club, we exchanged messages and she commented on the construction activities using WhatsApp.

I was also able to visit the new communities that Alcance is working in out of the Santa Lucia office: Coyota and El Riego; and out of the Masaya office: Coyolar, Playas Verdes, and Justo Romero. Alcance discussed their thinking on new strategies to engage these communities to meet their many needs which include water and ecological stoves.

Ecostoves in Comejen Nicaragua

Yesterday we left Santa Lucia where we been looking at the composting latrine project and Alcance’s work in new communities. We arrived at Alcance’s offices in Masaya around 11 am. They gave me an update on their work on the composting latrines in La Prussia and El Tunel and their Initiatives with new communities. After lunch together, the Santa Lucia group went back. 

I went with Ricardo Rivera and Adriana Cruz to Comejen, one of the new communities they’re working in. We met with two families to discuss their experience with the pilot project for ecostoves. These ecostoves are so beneficial. They eliminate the health issue from having a kitchen and house full of smoke with it’s damaging effects on lungs, eyes, and other problems. In addition these stove burn much less fuel, so there’s less wood to gather or pay for. The women reported that they put out enough heat to cook very well. This is a demonstrated technology. 

Alcance has deployed these ecostoves in communities around Santa Lucia for some time, and has documented substantial user experience about their benefits.

This morning I had one of the mangos they gave us with my breakfast.

Construction progress: composting latrines in El Llanito and Los Alvares

I missed a morning flight in Houston. My Alcance Nicaragua NGO partners picked me up at the airport in Managua and we drove to Santa Lucia. Got in after 11 pm. I’m staying in the Alcance office in Santa Lucia.

Today we visited homes in El Llanito and Los Alvarez to view progress on construction of composting latrines. We talked with beneficiaries and the builders. I noted their suggestions for improvement and documented changes so we can “as-build” these units and incorporate improvements in the design for future deployments.

El Llanito well for new water supply project

Martha Castillo Ocon, our Masaya Rotary Club partner, visited El Llanito to sign contracts with builders for the composting latrines. She also visited the existing community well that we plan to do our next Rotary/EWB project around: install a submersible electric pump, elevated storage tank, and a five kilometer pipeline distribution system to deliver water to tapstands throughout the community. This will address a long standing community priority. It will reduce the amount of time that mostly women and girls spend filling and hauling water containers from the well back to their homes.

Composting latrines construction is underway, traveling to Nicaragua and back through Belize

I travel 5/23/17 to Managua, departing 5/31/17 to Belize, returning to US 6/3/17. Here are few of the over 200 photos the Nica team has shared on a Whatsapp group.

Construction is underway with our NGO, Alcance Nicaragua, and our Masaya Rotary Club partner, for our Rotary/Engineers Withot Borders composting latrines project to do almost 90 more units with families in communities of La Prusia and El Tunel, near Masaya; and Los Alvarez and El Llanito, near the municipality of Santa Lucia.