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 Atzâ€˜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 â€œvale la penaâ€ (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 Atzâ€™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 â€˜Mynorâ€™ 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.
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.