Posted in Guatemala on August 18, 2017
August 18, 2017
Today started with a wondrous sleep, even if we only slept until 6am. At 7am we had a scrumptious breakfast. We got to choose we wanted so I got hot chocolate and Pancakes with fruit. I also tried Wade’s beans, which were soooo good. We then left for Open Windows Foundation around 8:30am after meeting our interpreter Stephanie! She is so awesome and she’s officially one of us by our books. We then explored a bit of the city surrounding Open Windows Foundation. We got to see the schools, the friendly locals (who didn’t jump out at you to sell things but rather said good morning), and see all the agriculture. Then we met Teresa, who is super kind and funny. She was very open to what we said, soon she showed us a tour of the Building and then showed us what developing world connections has built before. When we got back the kids had shown up. We were then allowed to think of what we wanted to do with the kids. Chantell and Dustyn (Gingy AKA myself) read to the kids and has them read to us because there were bilingual books(which meant they had English and Spanish versions of the stories). We all tried one of the electrolyte boosting capsules, which were very salty. At least we know what we’re getting into next time we become dehydrated.
After leaving the Open Windows Foundation building we went home and explored some of the Antigua. Ali, Daniel, Kira, and myself (Gingy AKA Dustyn) went to the bank but neither were able to do exchanges today. So we went to Wendy’s and got American money exchanged into the local currency, and we also got good food. Then we went to the local, small, market. We got lost. Then when we got out of the market we decided we needed some ice cream that Stephanie, our interpreter suggested. I (Gingy AKA Dustyn) bought a half gallon of it. Shared it at the meeting tonight after dinner. Dinner was French Onion soup, A delicious (ham, tomato, onion, herb, and cheese) pasta, and for dessert we had banana loaf!
-Dustyn and Ali
August 21, 2017
We’ve had an amazing weekend here in Guatemala! Starting with Friday, we went to the Ecostoves factory to meet Carlos, the mastermind behind the concept! He gave us a tour of the land while our translator for the day, Sadie who is Stephanie’s sister, helped out. Carlos showed us all his previous models of ecostoves, though the model which we will be installing tomorrow was not available to view. Regardless, it’s amazing how not only does this help the families who will be receiving the stoves, but the workers at the factories and their families as this gives them an income from work they didn’t have previously. This project is making a tremendous impact on the community! We’re very appreciative and humbled to be given such an opportunity to help make a huge difference.
Later, we returned to Open Windows Fundation to watch a video on the foundations history and programs. We had a great lunch then played with the kids as Fridays are Fundays!
Some of us played checkers others did art and thank you cards. We then went upstairs to teach them quack-didly-o, the chicken dance, and the Cha-Cha slide (in Spanish!) Understandably, the children knee what the moves were better than us. We just went off memory. We finished the day in Duenas with soccer, which turned out to be dodgeball with a soccer ball! The kiddos are absolutely fearless!!
On Saturday, we went on a three hour tour of Antigua, learning the city’s history and small tidbits, while exploring historic sites. After which we stopped for lunch at a great sandwich restaurant then went to our chocolate making workshop. At this, we learned about the three different kakao beans and the traditional Mayan process to make kakao paste then chocolate. We even got to make our own chocolates, with a choice from milk or 70% dark chocolate!
We also competed against one another is a kakao crushing contest with traditional tools! The winners got free chocolate, unfortunately neither one of us writing today’s blog won. ?
We made three different drinks using kakao paste:
Aztec Drink (water, chile, honey, kakao paste, vanilla)
Mayan Drink (water, spices, kakao paste)
Hot Chocolate (sugar, cinnamon, steamed milk, cardamom, and kakao paste)
All three were delicious in their own ways, but the crowd favourite was definitely the hot chocolate.
And today, we got to see land belonging to the farmers of De La Gente, a local coffee producer in San Miguel Escobar. We learned how the Coffee trees are grow, different species of Coffee and how the coffee beans are harvested then processed. We got to roast the beans, and try crushing them into the powder. After which, we had a delicious traditional lunch with the host family and were given a free bag of coffee beans to take home each! Once we returned to our hotel we had the afternoon to ourselves before our usually, but never least amazing, dinner at Fernando’s Kaffee!!
Tomorrow is the first of two days to install a goal of 25 ecostoves in San Miguel Duenas! Wish us luck! ☺️
Kira & Daniel
August 24, 2017
For the past couple of days, we’ve been doing many things.The beginning of Wednesday started with an ecofiltro tour. We met the founder who told us the story of how/why he started it and how he was a social entrepreneur. He showed us the original model and why it worked so well. He told us about how his sister wanted to give the filters away for free and why it did not work. People have honor and pride so if someone spends money on something they are less likely to treat it like garbage than if they bought it. Then for the rest of Wednesday, we started painting the church in Duenas! We walked from the Open Windows Foundation to the church because it was only about a 5-minute walk. We started in the inner chambers. We had lunch back at the Open Windows Foundation’s Library. Then once we finished lunch we went back and did all we could for the rest of the day. With 7/9 of us there, we managed to finish 3 of the 5 areas we were painting.
Then Thursday we started with painting in the morning after breakfast! We worked and joked while listening to music in our headphones. When Lunch rolled around we were working on the last area, with all of our people there it seemed much faster. After lunch, we had some free time before we had to meet up again so some of us explored Duenas a little bit. Then we went to the Church again and finished the last area. The last area was hard but the most satisfying because we were near the prayer room, which was in use the whole time, so we had to be very silent. When we were working people would greet us before and after they prayed. Seeing the difference was amazing. The old walls were discoloured and crumbling a little but with a fresh coat of white paint, it looked practically new again! When we finished the last area we cleaned everything up and looked on in pride. The rest of the day was ours to essentially do what we want.
-Dustyn & Ali
August 24, 2017
For the past couple of days, we have been building the Eco Stoves with the Open Windows Foundation. It was such an amazing experience! The first day was super long and tiring as we climbed many, many hills. After the demonstration, we all realized it wasn’t going to take as long as we thought and thought it looked easy and fast to do. Yes, it was fast to do, done in 15 minutes maximum unless there was a small issue (which was easily solved). But they were very heavy, which we did not expect so much, we did know the parts were made of concrete of course. The bricks were definitely much lighter than expected but the last two parts we needed at least 4 people to help carry the parts. In a total, we built 25 stoves to help families breathe healthier than they were.
The best part was the smiles we saw from every single family we provided a stove. As we built each stove, the family would gather around as we built their new stove. Sometimes they would even try to help, but we told them no need to. Each stove we did, we got to see the transition from their old stove to the new one. The difference in how they used to cook to now is such an amazing change. Every single time at the end, we got to hear how thankful they were for us providing them such a healthier living style. They would offer us a gift such as pop, mangos, and corn! We even gave them some of our extra lunches and give their animals treats.
Posted in Guatemala on August 18, 2017