Making the first tortillas on the new stove
Itching to finally get out of my town in the USA, I schedule a two-week trip to Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, to spend some time with the TRLearth.org Team. After many months of COVID shutdown in Guatemala, the Team has finally been able to get out to visit potential clients and to install and repair clean cookstoves. They have set the goal of installing 162 stoves this year, and thanks to the support of donors, they are well on their way.
I visited the TRL office, met the Team members, and went on an actual installation. On another day, I traveled with the Team to a neighboring village, San Pedro La Laguna, a 20-minute boat ride across beautiful Lake Atitlan. There, TRL had scheduled an orientation with eight Tz’utujil Maya women who were interested in finding out more about the cookstove project and the “do’s and don’ts“ when using one of these unique stoves.
During the orientation, Isabel, the Technical Adaptation Specialist (TAS), gave a thorough presentation with plenty of time to answer many questions. She explained that families who decide to get a clean cookstove are participating in an environmental project to "take climate action now." The cookstove will immediately improve their air quality, reduce the amount of firewood they need, and help save the region’s forests, but only if they commit to use it in the way that is was carefully designed to be used. Sometimes people mistakenly think that they are "buying the stove" and can do whatever they want with it...including chopping open the front so that they can continue to burn big logs!
After the presentation, all eight women wanted to have a stove. Thanks to donor support, TRL can provide these cookstoves at a greatly reduced price. The Team had just enough time that afternoon to visit the homes of four of the families; they installed those stoves the following Monday. By now, the stoves requested by the other four families have also been installed.
I've also been informed that on the first follow-up visits after installation, every stove is being used properly and greatly appreciated by the new owners. This continual follow-up is what sets TRL apart from other stove projects, where the stoves are just dropped off and never visited again.
If you are also itching to get away, I recommend you consider a trip to Santiago Atitlan. The Team encourages TRL donors and other interested visitors to Guatemala to come out to the Lake and go on a "clean cookstove tour." I can't begin to tell you how fascinating it is to see first hand the important work TRLearth.org is doing.They are truly taking Climate Action Now!
Staff in the bodega with stoves
TRL stove demo reunion