Thursday, March 10, 2016

Get Your Nerd On

Texts and photos by Robyn Nielsen unless otherwise noted

Nearly four weeks ago I was given a fairly simple task. All I had to do was update outdated statistics on a brochure for the Safe Stove Project. As an intern, I was prepared for small tasks such as this, and as a college grad, I was used to going into databases to find articles and statistics. All easy stuff right? Yeah, it would have been if the information that I stumbled upon wasn't so interesting. However, a task that should have taken me a few hours, took me a few weeks (sorry boss). Here's why:

The old Stove Project brochure
A typical unsafe stove (photo by unknown)
First, I found myself being completely absorbed by nearly every article that I clicked on. Articles about the dangers of burning biomass fuels in developing countries, particularly in Guatemala and the grave impacts breathing in these fumes have, primarily on women and the children who are traditionally strapped to their mothers' backs while they tend to the indoor fires. As if breathing in toxic fumes isn't enough, the likelihood of small children falling into open fires can lead to severe infections and deformations. The collection of firewood is both time consuming, particularly for women and girls, and is devastating to the environment.
A mother and her child cooking over an unsafe stove (Photo by unknown)

Journal after journal, statistic after statistic, I kept getting side tracked and sucked into the scholarly
words that gave context to all that I have see while working with the safe stove program. Most notably, I began to fully understand the gravity of the work that I have been doing while building stoves for families for the past six weeks. Who knew updating a brochure could reignite so much passion for a cause.

I could keep spitting facts at you, or if you want to get your nerd on like me, check out some of these cool articles that explain why we have been doing the Safe Stove Program since 1992.
A family and their finished safe stove (photo by unknown)

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