Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Enviromental Hazards and solutions in Guatemala

Good Morning,

Today is a quiet day in the office of the Clinica Maxeña so I am in the office working on some articles and writings for funds to supplement our budget. It is important for us to find funding that also includes the people and finances from here so not all comes from the exterior.

There are many issues of the environment that affect the health of the people we serve. One very common one is the custom of cooking over an open fire on a dirt floor, as this is how their mothers cooked and their grandmothers before them. It is a family space to sit and chat around the fire but it also a dangerous space for children. Each month in the clinic we treat severe burns in children from falls or being to near to the open flames. Eye inflammation and lung disease is also a common complication from excessive smoke in the home due to no chimnies.

Now there are alternative stoves being produced and offered and econoomic prices. The Clinica Maxeña and population we serve are interested in progress and change that will impact the health and well being of the mayan population. These stoves are referred to as ONIL stove and the cost is approximately $100. per stove. We have created a project to purchase stoves and to sell them at different prices as a means to have a rotating fund for the project and also to invest some of the money paid for stoves to our medicine costs for patients who cannot pay. We were fortunate to recieve our first donation through the Diocese of Helena to purchase 200 stoves. This project will begin to function next week with the arrival of the first 50 stoves. The advantage of these stoves is they do have a chimney, they are simple to construct, and they burn a very minimal amount of wood. This is extremely important as deforestation is a reality and a recent forest fire on VOLCAN PECUL increased the problem as the area burned was immense and only the recent beginnings of the rainy season extinguished this fire. We hope to present this project also to envionmental organizations, schools and rotary clubs. If you know of a connection for us you can send me an email at

THANK YOU! Love Sheila