In rural Guatemala, EcoLogic works with communities to develop and implement practical plans to promote forest reforestation and conservation. Using a holistic approach that goes beyond chimneys and stovetops, we are taking into account the role of the ecosystem and the community to implement sustainable changes.
EcoLogic recently spoke with teacher and Totonicapán community member Juana Maria Garcia about her time volunteering with EcoLogic and building fuel-efficient stoves in Cuchanet, Guatemala.
You have also helped to build fuel-efficient stoves, right?
JMG: Yes, this last winter I worked with EcoLogic to help build stoves for 75 families. The beneficiaries were in five communities and I primarily worked in Cuchanet. I collaborated with the group—mostly women of the households—to build the stoves. A mason supervised us, but we did everything as a team. We mixed the cement, lay the adobe and the bricks, and built the inner chamber. The chamber is built in a special way which helps the air move and reduces the amount of wood needed to keep it hot. Finally, we put on the chimney, and gave the stove a special coating of sand and cement, and then the owner had to wait 30 days for it to dry and "settle" before she could use it.
The owners are taught how to maintain the stoves, including what can be burned and what can't be. For example, most people don't know that burning plastic is dangerous for your health and for the environment. Fernando, the EcoLogic technician, also teaches how to keep the stoves clean, and why flies are bad for the food, as many people don't understand this. So there is a lot of health and hygiene information that is talked about, too.
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