|BSU students at PLUSAA in León|
I was very pleased to hear that a very similar set of projects is underway in Sonora, northwest Mexico, near my former home in Tucson, Arizona. Both the objectives and the methods are very much like the projects many students have visited with me in León. The immediate goal in all of these projects is mobility, but the ultimate purpose is to allow people to develop independence and an ability to contribute to the well-being of their families.
Both in Mexico and in Nicaragua, the projects are driven by local individuals and partners from the United States. In both cases, support from the U.S. Federal government plays a small role. In Nicaragua, this has been in the form of grants from the State Department's Agency for International Development (US-AID), directed at ameliorating some of the harm done by the 175,000 landmines that U.S.-backed insurgents placed throughout the country in the 1980s. In the case of Sonora, Mexico, aid has come in the form of equipment donated by the U.S. Northern Command.
|Image: Wikimedia, 2010 view of Nogales, Sonora from Nogales, Arizona.|
Note the presence of a huge wall through the city, though short-term crossings in both directions are common for work, shopping, or even fast food. As with most U.S.-Mexico twin cities, the population is larger on the Mexico side. In this case, it is more than a ten-fold difference, roughly 220,000 versus 20,000.