Guatemalan Women are very happy to have their new stoves
In a small village on the outskirts of Cobán, Guatemala, a humble woman walked into the “big” city from her village to ask Socorro Maya, Maya Relief’s local foundation in Guatemala, for an efficient wood burning stove. She had heard from her family, who lived about two hours away, of these wonderful stoves and wanted one for her home. She was told by Carlos Barrios to go back to her village and get 20 more families to commit to the program of 6 components (stove, nixtamalera, etc.) and then Socorro Maya could justify the expense of trucking the stoves to her home village. One week later she was back with the names of 20 families. The next day Socorro Maya had the truck on the way and the stoves and other components were put into place. Leon and Rob went into the village to see the results and were greeted with true appreciation. The floor of the humble home was covered with pine needles, used only at times of great celebration, and the table was set with chicken soup, punch and tortillas. They had set up the home for a party of gratitude for Rob, Leon and Carlos. Both Leon and Rob came back home saying that their visit made it all worthwhile and confirmed that this is a worthy effort.
Working together on the Garden
These women have the vision of community cooperation. Working shoulder to shoulder they are planting the seeds for a large group garden. They rented a parcel of land and are planting the different seeds for their first community harvest. With this first crop of vegetables, such as lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, eggplant, carrots, etc., they will have their first supply of homegrown vegetables. Instead of paying 3 Quetzales for a stubby little carrot of 3 inches or less in a neighboring market, they will have 6-8 inch, juicy carrots for all the families to share in the village. The one man in the picture is one of our Socorro Maya “tecnicos,” who has come to show them how to plant a variety of seeds to provide a more well balanced diet, especially for their children, and still have sufficient surplus to trade with other villages. This helps create a self sufficient village.
Young Girls Cook Tortillas
From an early age the girls learn to cook tortillas, the staple diet of the Maya (along with beans). But if it’s such hard work, why is this girl smiling? Because she is using an efficient wood burning stove, she doesn’t have to go through the back breaking exercise of leaning over an open fire on the ground. She doesn’t have to breathe in the noxious smoke. Her clothes don’t catch on fire. She doesn’t have to worry about her year old baby stumbling into the open fire. No wonder she’s happy.
Gunderson Family Volunteer Service in Guatemala
Riding in the back of a truck to meet with community leaders of Tanchi are Rob Reinhart, Carlos Barrios, Mary Gunderson and Jon Gunderson. The meeting will revolve around the families of Tanchi entering into a program of efficient stoves, water filters, room dividers, cash crop gardens and social workers. The community is gathered to discuss the benefits of these items and why the families will pay something. Experience shows that free handouts don’t work. Maya Relief Foundation provides them interest free loans to pay back their subsidized amount. The families can cover the “purchase” amount in 4-5 months through savings from 75% less purchased wood and 95% less purchased water.
We have brought several capable divers to help with the project at Samabaj
We have brought several capable people to dive at Samabaj and help with the project. Don Mealing, more than once, brought up intact pottery as well as wood from trees to carry out carbon dating. Some of the scuba divers have included Fernando Paiz, Alvaro Martinez, Mary Mealing, Mark Zobrist, West Segmiller, David Wilhelm, Nicholas Wilhelm, Richard Zobrist, Angie Zobrist, Sonia Medrano, Adriana Linares, Rick Romney, Lee Daniels, Terry Daniels, Scott Doughman, Shawna Doughman, and Leon Reinhart.