Quick Update from the Eco-Fair 2007

XelaTeco spent a majority of the last week presenting their products in Guatemala City at the Eco-Fair in the neighborhood of Cuatro Grados Norte. The fair was a success, bringing together national NGO’s focused on recycling waste materials and improving the environment through eco-tourism and reforestation efforts.

Xela Teco displayed models of two types of bio-digestors and a model of the new stove design, along with a Powerpoint presentation describing their vision and displaying photos of past projects. Maricela and Natalia had the chance to speak with prospective clients as well as other NGO’s, and made important contacts for future projects.

It was great to see so many people dedicated to improving the environment and it was really beneficial to be reminded that we are part of a larger community of hard-working visionaries.

Up on the Roof! Stove Demos at AIDG Guatemala

Rosaura and Lorenzo

We have been busy cooking up on the roof of the AIDG office in Xela (which incidentally is resembling and office and workshop space more and more each day!) With the company of Rosaura and Lorenzo from La Florida and Clarita and Katrina from Associacion Pop Atz‘iak (see http://www.popatziak.org) we have been cooking up some real Guatemalan delights!

Cooking on the stoves not only gave us the opportunity to practice our hand at making tortillas and cooking them on the plancha (work top) of the AIDG stoves (an essential quality of a Guatemalan improved stove is that it is suitable for cooking tortillas), but it also gave the women an opportunity to check out the different stove designs currently offered by XelaTeco. This way the women will be able to make informed decisions over which stoves will best suit the needs of their communities.

Interestingly they both picked different stoves. Rosaura preferred the rocket combustion chamber stove. Tests performed by Liakos over the last few weeks show this stove is much more efficient (around 65%) than the other designs currently offered by XelaTeco. The stove uses smaller pieces of wood and the combustion chamber is considerably smaller than other designs, however Rosaura felt it was “vale la pena” (worth the effort) of the extra work to reduce the workload in collecting wood and to preserve the forests around La Florida for their children. XelaTeco will install the stove in the community house in early December with the help of labor and materials provided by the people of La Florida.


Conversely, Katrina, Womens Project Manager at the Associacion Pop Atz’iak (who work with communities all over Guatemala) has decided to propose to the Junta Directiva (Board of Directors) of the organization that they install the ‘Mynor’ or ramp design stove in their association building. This stove has a larger combustion chamber, and the fire needs less maintenance, however consumes more firewood than the other design. Katrina decided this was most appropriate as they cook for large groups at meetings, workshops and women who come to make artesanias, therefore they have less time to spend cutting wood and maintaining the fire.

In both communities the installations will replace open fires and also serve as demonstrations, we plan to hold workshops, inviting women to come and learn about improved stoves, deforestation, respiratory health and why they are designed the way they are. They will also all have the opportunity to cook traditional food on the stove and provide valuable feedback for future XelaTeco designs.

Pedro and Natalia

We have also been doing a spot of cooking over at XelaTeco, where Beau and Pedro have started testing the new metal rocket combustion chamber stove they have been working on together. The stove looks fantastic and is heating up really well, using very little wood. So we cooked some tortillas and beans to celebrate!

The stove will also be tested in a number of communities with which we are collaborating on stove projects. Not only is the design considerably cheaper than those we have currently, but it is portable, flexible (we plan to offer various accessories such as wood storage / drying, shelves and potentially a water heater) and can be pre-fabricated at XelaTeco.

[tags]Guatemala, stoves[/tags]

2007/2008 Human Development Report focuses on Climate Change

Climate change is now a scientifically established fact. – HDR 2007/2008

Image The UNDP just released its annual Human Development Report. This year, the focus is climate change.

From the report:

What we do today about climate change has consequences that will last a century or more. The part of that change that is due to greenhouse gas emissions is not reversible in the foreseeable future. The heat trapping gases we send into the atmosphere in 2008 will stay there until 2108 and beyond. We are therefore making choices today that will affect our own lives, but even more so the lives of our children and grandchildren. This makes climate change different and more difficult than other policy challenges.

Read the Report: Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world [pdf]

Thanks, Steph.

War Dance [Trailer]

Trailer 2
War/Dance Trailer #2
2min 31 secTrailer 1

Duration: 7min 36sec

Set in Northern Uganda, a country ravaged by more than two decades of civil war, WAR DANCE tells the story of Dominic, Rose, and Nancy, three children whose families have been torn apart, their homes destroyed, and who currently reside in a displaced persons camp in Patongo. When they are invited to compete in an annual music and dance festival, their historic journey to their nation’s capital is also an opportunity to regain a part of their childhood and to taste victory for the first time in their lives.

A particularly liked this review from New York Magazine:

[War Dance] directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, centers on children in a remote refugee camp in northern Uganda. They have seen, in many cases, their parents hacked to death, their villages destroyed. They are still surrounded by carnage. In the course of the film, they rehearse for a national music-and-dance festival in the south, where they’ll compete against bigger and better schools—schools in which everyone isn’t an orphan. There are too many competition docs these days (Spellbound opened the floodgates) with built-in cliff-hangers and manufactured inspiration. But the suspense in War/Dance transcends the quest for the big prizes. For these kids to sing and dance with all their hearts, they need to go to a place in themselves that should be closed down forever. The glories of War/Dance are torturously won, and all the more glorious for it.


[tags] war dance, Uganda, trailer, Africa [/tags]