Old Bridge church supporting families in Agua Escondida
Old Bridge, a church from Virginia, sent a small group of six volunteers to Guatemala this year in July to build stoves in Agua Escondida. What was apparent from the beginning was how these six members, all with various backgrounds and experiences, believed in the mission and work of this project. Mika, originally from Japan, had never been to Guatemala. She was consistently enamoured by the bustling streets of Xela and immediately connected with the women of the community. Jim, who had been coming to Guatemala for 10 years, was interested in how the new and more fuel efficient stove design would be constructed and if it was going to be better for the women in the community.
Many of the volunteers were able to converse with the women of the households while implementing the stoves. They all had unique stories as to why they wanted a new stove. One woman expressed how her mothers stove had broken in an earthquake. Without a proper functioning stove, preparing meals for six to ten people is difficult and unsafe. Over three days, the group built seven stoves with the help of Don Pauli, the mason, who constantly was remeasuring and reworking the stoves to make sure they would funciton just right.
Through working with this community it was clear how a functioning stove can impact communities. In these large families, meals together are a vital part of their culture. The group noticed how many people were eating together and were able to see how a new stove could make that aspect of their lives safer to be around and more fuel efficient.