Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day and Marti Gras!

Today was a special day for the children of the Guardería. We celebrated two special days- Valentine’s Day and Marti Gras! To celebrate Marti Gras (or Carnival), it is a necessity to make the traditional cascarones or eggshells. The children, with the help of the workers at the Guardería, hollowed out the eggs and decorated them with colorful tissue paper. Before sealing the egg with the tissue paper, the children filled the eggs with pika pika-very small, colorful bits of confetti. The volunteers arrived at the Guardería and, after a very warm greeting from the children, hid all of the cascarones in the yard next to the Guardería. 
After all of the eggs had been gathered, the volunteers were very surprised to see all of the children cracking the eggs over as many of their peers’ heads as possible (as is tradition in Guatemala). Of course, the children pulled the volunteers into the game as well.
After everyone was completely covered in colorful paper, the children and the volunteers settled into the classroom so that the children could present the Valentine’s Day cards that they had made for every student at the school. The volunteers happily left the Guardería covered in confetti and holding a handmade card.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Meeting with the mothers of Xeabaj

Carmen and the projects coordinator met with the mothers of Xeabaj, a community removed from Xela. Similar to the first meeting with the women of San Juan, Carmen talked about the importance of encouraging students to study and providing breakfast in the morning to aid in concentration in school.
On the subject of nutrition, Carmen also questioned mothers with children of less than 2 years if they would be interested in our Nutributter nutrition program.
After the meeting, we walked to the school built by one of the padrinos to visit with the students before they left for lunch. Additionally, we met with the teacher to discuss the academic progress of several of the students.

Gathering materials for our new stove recipients

Today our student volunteers, our coordinator, and many new recipients of our safe stoves set out to gather materials for the 14 new stoves we will be building in the community Llanos del Pinal. First our team bought the “planchas” (the stove tops), the metal for the chimneys and the door for the front of the stove. Next the volunteers took a pickup truck to collect all of the bricks and clay necessary for all of the stoves. Finally, before leaving for Llanos del Pinal, the volunteers collected all of the concrete needed for the stoves.
After a short rest, the volunteers and the women of Llanos spent the late morning and afternoon distributing all of the materials to every house. During this process, Carmen and the safe stove coordinator determined the order of the stoves to be built. Some houses needed to repair certain aspects of their construction in order to maximize the benefits of the stove (or even just to fit the stove into the house). 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Meeting with future recipients of the safe stoves

Future recipients of stoves

After finishing all of the initial interviews with potential recipients of our safe stoves Carmen organized a reunion for all of the women to meet at Pop Wuj and learn more about the safe stove process. Today at the reunion with the future recipients of safe stoves, the women learned more about the health, economic, and environmental benefits of the safe stoves. 
Future recipients of stoves
The majority of the women have very young children or grandchildren living in their homes- children are the demographic affected most by smoke inhalation- making them the optimal beneficiaries of stoves. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Stoves, February 8, 2012

Completed 3rd stage
This week, our volunteers, led by our safe stove projects coordinator, completed the 3rd stage of the stove in the house of Doña Maria Fidelia Nimataj (Tierra Colorada Baja). This stage includes adding the layer of bricks that will support the stove top, adding the stove top, and installing the chimney. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stoves, second stage

Completed 2nd stage
This week our volunteers, led by our safe stove projects coordinator, completed the second stage of the stove in the house of Doña Maria Fidelia Nimataj (Tierra Colorada Baja). This stage included adding several layers of bricks secured with cement and a clay mixture. Additionally, the inside of the stove is lined with bricks providing a base for the fire.