Last Sunday we hit the Annual Fair of Santa Catalina in Nahuala, on the road between Xela and Guatemala City.
The town was buzzing with life, colourful traditional traje and merry-go-rounds! There was as much activity at Dona Maria’s house (the mother of Katarina, our representative at Associacion Pop Atâ€™ziak) as all the women from a local womenâ€™s group were celebrating their 15th Anniversary.
Luckily we had brought along XelaTecoâ€™s new stove to help the women cook their huge feast of tamales, soup and corn (and of course it was a great opportunity to show it off!). The stove has been designed to be portable, more efficient and cheaper to manufacture than the designs XelaTeco current has to offer, while keeping the features that are important to Guatemalan women. It went down a treat; the women used the stove to cook tortillas, rice and boil water for drinks. During the day a lot of women came through looked at, used and talked with us about the stove.
Along with Pedro, from XelaTeco, we explained how it works and uses over 60% less wood. In a town where on average, a months wood costs a family 250Q (over $30), this is an attractive asset. We also taught the women how to use the stove, which requires the wood to be cut slightly smaller and the small â€˜rocketâ€™ combustion chamber to be kept topped up with wood. Education is a huge part in the uptake of improved stoves in Guatemala, and practical workshops is something we see as essential to both discussing the benefits of the stoves, as well as showing how to use them. In addition, these workshops provide an opportunity for the women to use the stoves first-hand, trying before buying, thus promoting the stove and providing XelaTeco sales.
At the end of the day, there were a number of women interested in buying the stove. We’re going to work with Associacion Pop Atâ€™ziak to help the women organize themselves into a buying group. This way XelaTeco can offer a small discount and the women can get credit through the association to help them pay for the stove poco a poco, with the savings they make on using less firewood.