Jun 18, 2020

TRL COVID-19 Update

Greetings from Tui’k Ruch’ Lew!  We hope that all of you, who have so generously supported TRL in the past, are safe and well.

Unfortunately, Santiago Atitlan, the community in which we are based, is one of two lake towns with registered cases of COVID-19. Presently there are 54 identified cases and 3 deaths. The national government has mandated strict protocols to protect the population and the local government is quarantining affected individuals and those who have been exposed. 

Our clients are particularly vulnerable to the negative outcomes of COVID-19. New research suggests those living in places that are exposed to air pollution are more likely to die from COVID-19. Our clients mostly live in densely populated areas with high potential for transmission of the virus. Moreover, they have limited access to healthcare services. With families forced to remain indoors, those with an ONIL stove are much better positioned. Eliminating the dangers of HAP is especially vital now more than ever.

In addition to the health threat, the economic consequences of lockdown orders have severely threatened the wellbeing of community members. The informal economy is a primary source of income for community members (e.g., selling roasted ears of corn harvested from one’s own cornfields or home-toasted peanuts, by the ounce, on the street). Now the sale of any edible on the street is prohibited. Tourism, another large source of income, is non-existent. Many of our female clients earned money from beadwork, weaving and embroidery -- artisan products sold directly on the street -- that are not necessarily linked to international or online markets. Without work and reliable income, many families are going hungry. TRL, like several groups in the area, has begun to distribute food aid with the support of the Rotary Club. 

The savings on daily wood fuel use made possible by an ONIL stove are key in a time like this.  In spite of the financial hardship, we still have a high volume of requests for stoves and replacement parts. 

As soon as the local government allows, we look forward to continuing our work and kindly appreciate any support you might be able to give. 

Feb 25, 2020

Update from Tuik Ruch Lew: Your Contribution's Impact

This is Micaela*, a mother of nine and a resident of San Antonio Chacayá, a small village just outside of Santiago Atitlán. Like many others in her community, her husband works as a field laborer in a finca, earning no more than $4 USD a day. This means their family finances depend on an abundant harvest, something no longer guaranteed as climate change brings unreliable crop-cycles. Her family cannot afford to buy the fuel she needs to cook, so they spend hours each week collecting firewood. 

Her sister-in-law, a proud owner of a TRL stove, had raved about the financial and health benefits. Micaela began thinking, how great would it be to have her own, so she wouldn’t be cooking on a fire on the floor. Unfortunately, she knew it was an expense her family could never afford. 

One day, her daughter spoke with Isa, our educadora. Isa explained that luckily, TRL had a unique opportunity: a donor wished to give ONIL stoves to impoverished families in the community. From there, Isa visited her home, explained the nature of our project, and registered Micaela in our program. Now, Micaela is thrilled to be cooking with an ONIL stove which means a lower risk of burns, eye problems and respiratory diseases for her and her children. Plus, her family is now doing their part to slow deforestation on the slopes of the nearby volcano, a biodiverse area home to prime habitat for quetzales and other threatened bird species. 

Because of donors like yourself, we are able to help families like Micaela’s. In 2020, we’ve installed over 50 ONIL stoves all because of YOUR support. On behalf of our community and the planet, we thank you for your generosity. 

Listen to Micaela tell her story at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuysdA06BXU 


*Name is changed for privacy


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