Monday, October 12, 2015

Our New Safe Stove Project Families

Text and photos by Elizabeth Barnes

After months of interviewing, Pop Wuj has finalized its new list of safe stove recipients! These 12 families live in Llanos del Pinal and Xecaracoj, both rural villages in el Valle Palajunoj, and Pop Wuj students will start busing out there to build later this month.

Last Friday, October 9, representatives of the families traveled to Xela to discuss important details of the project.

Everyone gathers at the school at 9 a.m. for the meeting. 
Over four hours, these future stove recipients learned about Pop Wuj's projects, the health and environmental benefits of safe stoves, respect for cultural tradition and Madre Tierra, and construction logistics. Thanks to Carmen, General Project Coordinators Albizael and Elizabeth, Medical Spanish Program director Ronnie, and Spanish teacher and chief engineer Mynor for presenting.

Mynor breaks down the list of supplies that families will need during the three phases of stove building. Pop Wuj buys almost all materials but does ask that families provide basic tools like buckets and find their own sand (which is plentiful and free for the taking in el Valle Palajunoj).

To commemorate the launch of the project, Albizael distributed "before" photos of future stove recipients in their kitchens. Staff took these pictures during the interview process and will also put together a poster to hang at the school.

Isabel, our secretary at Pop Wuj, decorated frames for the photos.
Albizael matches a stove recipient with her photo. 
Stove recipients lean in to admire a photo. Many knew their neighbors by sight but hadn't necessarily spoken before. 
After a long morning of presentations, we paused for paches, bread, and coffee.

Some mothers impressively juggled plates of food and squirmy children.
Carmen closed the meeting by confirming that the families understood their obligations as safe stove recipients. Everyone was on board and ready to commit formally to the project.

One by one, as mothers wrangled children behind them, future stove recipients came forward to sign their names...
...or add their thumbprints to the safe stove agreement.
This Wednesday, October 14, representatives of all these new families will reconvene at Pop Wuj at 7 a.m. for an ambitious day of buying and delivering stove materials to their homes. Stay tuned!

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