BlogBeat

Nichnamtic Expedition Update — Combatting carbon monoxide poisoning in rural Mexico with wood burning stoves

Nichnamtic Expedition Update — Combatting carbon monoxide poisoning in rural Mexico with wood burning stoves

By Carlo Lorenzo Garcia
Living Philanthropic

LIOTE! [leo-tay] That’s Tzotzil for Hello!

Happy New Year Everyone! I’m excited to back in Chicago, I had an amazing trip to Chiapas, Mexico over Christmas break. It was a truly wonderful experience.

To provide a quick wrap up, we built a 6 classroom school house plus a basketball, and installed 40 wood burning stoves in the homes of those most in need in the village of Nichnamtic.

[caption id="attachment_15002" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Crescencia and Pedro receive a wood burning stove."][/caption]

I spent most of my time working on the stove project this year, because it allowed me more time to meet with the people of Nichnamtic, to get to know them, to learn about how they live, work, cook, and eat.

The stove project was especially dear to me, my fundraising efforts and some of your donations covered the cost for 18 of the 40 stoves! So, I wanted to make sure they were installed properly, that the women knew how they worked and would put them to good use.

So, why install stoves?

In most of the homes, the cooking is done over an open fire pit which tends to fill the kitchen or living space with smoke and carbon monoxide. This slow carbon monoxide poisoning can have a great effect on the development and health of the families and children in the home. Learning disabilities and respiratory problems can have an adverse effect on student’s abilities to concentrate and learn in school. The hope is that the mothers will use the new stoves that vent the smoke out of the house or kitchens.

Will it work?

My host family Crescencia (23) and Pedro (24) live on a very small plot of land with a humble living space and separate kitchen. They have 3 children Freddy, Juan David, and Irma. They lived in the States for one year before moving back to their home in Nichnamtic. Pedro’s work consists of migrating to Northern Mexico from March to November to cut calabazas (squash) for 40-50 pesos a day. That’s about $3-4 US dollars a day. The winter months are definitely the hardest, as it is too cold for their small crops, so money and food is tight. When I first arrived, their second oldest Juan David (2) was following his mother around as she would prepare food or coffee. The first thing I noticed was the smoke in the kitchen and Juan David’s pronounced cough, it sounded pretty bad, aggravated by the smoke.

This is a very common scene across Chiapas, children spend their time with their mother when not in school, gathering wood, watching their mother’s cook, breathing in smoke. My team and I installed our stove, Pedro actually moved their big fire pit that they were using for cooking outside! That was a good sign! We came back later that night after installing more stoves and Pedro was happy to make room for us to sleep on the concrete floor of their house.

The next morning, I spent some quality time with Pedro learning about his life, his family, his work, his land. Meanwhile, Crescencia used the new stove to make us coffee and handmade tortillas, a good sign that she would continue to use the stove. On the last day, the poignant moment for me was noticing how the new stove was already helping Juan David, as we sat in the kitchen drinking coffee and eating tortillas, this little guy did not cough once! I knew in that moment, that this project would have a simple, yet profound effect.

By the end of our expedition, the school was built and all forty stoves were installed and I was extremely proud of the team and work we accomplished together, over 60 volunteers from the US and 40+ volunteers in Chiapas came together for a great cause.

I want to thank Ticketmaster, Live Nation, Anonymous donor Cyper for their $1,000 donations, and every donor who helped fund this expedition! You are amazing and your contributions made an impact!

If you would like to help fund a stove, please visit: http://crowdrise.com/stoves or if you would like to fund a future school build, please visit: http://www.crowdrise.com/LP-DEC

For more information about Foundation Escalera, please visit: http://foundationescalera.org/landing.html

For more photos, check out the Living Philanthropic page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/livingphilanthropic

Click to add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

BlogBeat

More in BlogBeat

shutterstock_179954507

Latinos have always cared about the environment — Now it’s time to Act!

Latina ListaAugust 27, 2015
8601700700_077303313a_b

What Don Quixote has to say to Spain about today’s immigrant crisis

Latina ListaAugust 26, 2015
1_19_12_custom-79e08b49f17e3857541887107d9547acc4d26e17-s800-c15

Commentary: Let’s Treat Juveniles in Detention at Least as Well as Animals in Zoo

Latina ListaAugust 25, 2015
Father and sons reading on bed

Little kids with big vocabularies start school ready to learn

Latina ListaAugust 24, 2015
image 3

App lets users PIVOT the World of Preservation

Latina ListaAugust 20, 2015
wvp7tov5yabhmnldyqmj

Entrepreneur & Visionary Giving a Voice to Latinas in Tech

Latina ListaAugust 19, 2015
A privately owned taxi is driven past Havana's university September 13, 2010. Cuba will let more than 500,000 state employees go by next March and try to move most to non-state jobs in the biggest shift to the private sector since the 1960s, the official Cuban labor federation said on Monday. According to Communist party sources who have seen the detailed plan to "reorganize the labor force," Cuba expects to issue 250,000 new licenses for self-employment by the close of 2011, almost twice the current number, and create 200,000 other non-state jobs. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan (CUBA - Tags: SOCIETY TRANSPORT EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTR2IAS5

Why American academics are building ties with Cuba

Latina ListaAugust 17, 2015
marketing-to-kids-2-1024x713

Campaign underway to ask food companies to advertise healthier foods and drinks to kids

Latina ListaAugust 13, 2015
71gQTHU5tFL

Book Review: Negras: Stories of Puerto Rican Slave Women

Latina ListaAugust 12, 2015