Light Up Guatemala October 2023 October 24, 2023

Posted in on October 24, 2023

This past week, Guatemala welcomed fourteen volunteers from areas across Canada to work on the DWC Light Up Guatemala Eco-stove Project.

The team assisted families by installing energy-efficient eco-stoves in various homes. This helps the family breathe better, as the stove filters and channels the smoke outside the home, creating a cleaner and healthier living environment. Additionally, the eco-stove uses significantly less wood than regular open cooking fires inside the homes, which reduces the impact on the environment and saves some household financial resources.

The program started with team building on Sunday, October 15th, by exploring the local countryside on various forms of transportation, visiting coffee plantations, seeing traditional clothing manufacturing, and learning how chocolate was made.

October 16

The team received a briefing from our local host partner, Open Windows in San Miguel, Duenas and went on to work in three groups installing their first eighteen eco-stoves in Alotenango, just outside of Antigua, Guatemala.

October 17

Tuesday started off with a bang as Volcano Fuego went off several times while our groups were hard at work installing a further twenty-four eco-stoves. Finding the respective installation sites is an adventure, followed by preparing the work area, which had its own space, black soot and sometimes smokey challenges.

Returning home dirty and having a hot shower and amazing hospitality from local cooks who served up a team dinner each night for fourteen people gave us a sense of purpose and appreciation for the local environment.

October 18

. On day three, the team left feeling refreshed and on the roll. They installed thirty-two eco-stoves, and things were now well organized and streamlined.

The end of the day brought feelings of exhaustion, both physically and mentally.  Each team member shared their feelings and stories after dinner at the villa. This brought out many emotions and personal feelings—a great way to end a day.

October 19

On day four, we installed our eighty-sixth stove, the final stove we and the community had funding for.  We were sad to hear that four installation sites did not meet the building criteria, as the local community contribution had not been made to the eco-stoves project yet.

Our last day was challenging in many aspects; by now, we were running low on certain supplies, some drills had burnt out, and our team was scattered across a wide area.  The work sites are tricky, and installations were done amid family and community life, with kids, dogs, cats, chickens, pigeons, and critters, including biting ants and large beetles.

We completed our eco-stove commitment and are having a break before meeting our community partner for a debrief, presentation, and a thank you to the team!

Posted in on October 24, 2023