The mothers of the Maternal Child Health Program were all very excited when we announced that another generous donor had raised money to install more ONIL stoves. After Chonita, our outreach worker, selected four women with the greatest need, we met with Cameron and his team from Cojolya so that he could chat with the moms about the stoves, how they work, why they are beneficial and how to properly maintain them. Using pictures, but more importantly firsthand knowledge (he and his wife have used the same ONIL stove for the past 10 years), Cameron and his wife Isabel were able to answer the mothers’ questions and dispel misinformation about the stoves. By the end of the meeting, the moms were so excited that they asked Cameron to install them right away.
Having never seen an installation, I was intrigued to see how it would all work. What stood out to me was the ease of installing the stoves. Cameron has been installing them for over 5 years, but even still, they are relatively straight forward as long as you ensure the first step-making the ground level-is done correctly. After that come the 11 cinder blocks, provided by the mothers, the individual pieces that make up the stove, the firebox being lined with sand and ash, and finally the stove top and the chimney. The mothers are walked through each step, in particular key parts of the stoves that need maintenance, and then they watch as Isabel lights a fire and the stove heats up quickly.
I asked the women what they thought about the stoves and they all beamed and told me how happy it makes them to have a stove that will cut down on their exposure to smoke while also burning much less firewood. When I followed up to ask what the first thing they would cook would be, two answered right off “Tortillas!” while the others answered rice and coffee. One of them started before we had even left their house!
Thanks again to all our supporters for allowing us to ensure the mothers and children of our programs can have a healthier future!