The town of Brookline has been working with the Nicaraguan town of Quezalguaque for a quarter of a century now.
Mayor of Quezalguaque Hugo Ruiz, Health Center Director Sadya Hernandez, and Director of Education Jose Murillo are visiting Massachusetts to celebrate the partnership, but also met with the Town's department heads to share wisdom from both countries.
Said Selectmen Chair Betsy DeWitt, "We know that we share many municipal responsibilities, such as public education, public safety, and public health. Our two communities have worked together on issues that we share: education, literacy, and access to healthcare."
She added that teachers from Brookline have visited Quezalguaque, and have started exchanging ideas about how language is learned.
The Nicaraguan representatives also had dinner with with the Selectmen, and at the meeting Selectman DeWitt presented Mayor Ruiz with a plaque from the town, and a proclamation from Governor Deval Patrick. The Town also received a copy of this proclamation, recognizing the 25-year anniversary.
"First I want to thank God for wonderful opportunity to share with the Brookline government, and people. And to thank the people here who are so full of love for Quezalguaque." said Ruiz, through translator and Sister City founding member Maxine Shaw.
He added, "I want to reaffirm to the people of Brookline that all of these things have contributed to improving the life of people in Quezalguaque,"
The "things" to which Ruiz referred are a number of projects the Sister City organization has supported in its 25 years. Among the projects listed, the ,, and an .
With the help of the Boston University School of Public Health, , and found that drinking clean water may be a cure. Last September, Sister City also in Nicaragua.
Representatives pointed out that none of the Quezalguaque projects have been funded by taxpayer money, and many have been made possible through donations.
"This organization reflects people working with people," noted Selectman Dick Benka, "leveraged by countless volunteer hours."
Last year, several Brookline residents also had the opportunity to and see much of the work first-hand.
According to Sister City's website, the partnership began with a resolution passed at Town Meeting in 1987, after Maxine Shaw had spent two years living in Quezalguaque and teaching in a one-room schoolhouse there.
For more information about Sister City and its projects, see their website: brooklinesistercity.org