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Nursing Students Build and Educate in Guatemala

Casey Schiedel is no construction worker, but she didn’t let that stop her from building multiple cinderblock stoves this winter. Why would a fourth-year nursing student take on such an unexpected project? Because it aligns perfectly with the mission of Nursing Students Without Bordersat Virginia Commonwealth University.

Schiedel and 12 other members of VCU’s NSWB — a nonprofit organization that encourages public health both in the Richmond community and internationally — traveled to Guatemala on an annual service trip to improve the quality of life and health of villagers.

This year, the team built six cinderblock stoves in LaCumbre, Guatemala, with the help of a mason, translators and villagers.

“The families live in homes that have tarp over tops, they have dirt floors and they’re cooking over open flame,” Schiedel said. “So, by building the stoves, we reduced the risk of injury with their children [walking into open fires], increased the amount of food women can cook for their family and lessened smoke inhalation because they’ll actually have a chimney that will vent the smoke out of their homes.”

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