Healthy Home Kits: Lesbia Antonieta Morales and Hilda Elvia Calel Tol

Lesbia Antonieta Morales

The atol, a signature holy drink of the Mayas and made from water and corn, is cooling on Lesbia’s new smokeless stove stove. Every morning, Lesbia prepares it as breakfast for her three-year-old daughter, Angelita.

“Before, we didn’t have a stove. Habitat for Humanity Guatemala came to us offering this project. We were interested, so we decided to try it,” explains Lesbia. A few months later, and Lesbia is delighted with the stove. “I love to cook with my new stove, and I can make whatever I want.” Because the stove heats up easily and has a wide surface, she can simultaneously grill her tortillas, prepare beans for lunch, and warm up the breakfast atol for Angelita.

Thanks to the design of the smokeless stove of Habitat for Humanity Guatemala, Lesbia and her daughter no longer affected face issues with smoke fumes. They used to cough and suffer from irritated eyes. Now, Lesbia can cook without any fear that her daughter will have health problems. Moreover, because the stove is low-consuming for firewood, Lesbia doesn’t need to buy as many logs as before. The smokeless stove allows her to save some money and to spend it on other everyday life expenses, especially food.

The water filter has also improved the health of her entire family. Lesbia notes that her family no longer suffers from stomach pains. She also has found that the taste of the water is different, but better.

In addition, the latrine has improved living conditions for Lesbia’s family and is now a cleaner, healthier environment. This is also due in part to the fact that only Lesbia, her husband, and her daughter use it. Before, with the previous latrine, fifteen people were sharing the space. “It was always dirty,” says Lesbia. With a smile Lesbia adds, “we have much more privacy with the new latrine.”

When she is asked about the group that came to help her family, a smile appears on Lesbia’s face. She is proud to say that they built the stove together. “We helped each other. I have nice memories about it.” She concludes, “I am glad that I got to know them.”

Above all, Lesbia is grateful to the group of international volunteers that helped build her stove and latrine. “I thank the volunteers for their support and their work. They helped me to get a new stove, latrine and filter water. They allow us to improve our everyday life.”

Hilda Elvia Calel Tol

“My sister-in-law talked to me about Habitat for Humanity Guatemala’s Healthy Kit Program. I was also interested, so we met the promoter, and we accepted their offer to try it.”

Hilda and her sister-in law live a few meters apart from one another. Fields of corn with amazing views of nearby green valleys surround both of their houses. She remembers perfectly the date of the construction of her stove and her latrine. “January 6th,” she says without any hesitation. It is an indelible memory for her and her family. Hilda’s brothers even came to provide their help and participate in the construction.

Hilda has clear memories of the group, especially with regards to the ways that they communicated. Although she speaks Kiché, Kaqchikel and Spanish, she is not familiar with English.  However, the language barrier wasn’t a problem. “We exchanged a lot, thanks to the translator.” She adds. “I am glad we got to know each other.”

Hilda’s daughter, Aracely, sits on a chair and watches pots simmering on the stove with eager eyes. Hilda looks at her with tenderness and explains, “I am grateful, because the Healthy Kit Program improved our living conditions. Thanks to the stove and the water filter, my daughter won’t have any health problems because of smoke or impure water.”

In addition, Hilda mentions, the new latrine has made daily life for her little girl easier. The toilet works well for small children like Aracely.

Hilda now has more time to take care of her daughter. Because the new stove uses less firewood, she doesn’t need to go as often to the forest to find logs. She is glad to have some “extra time” to share moments with Aracely. With a grateful smile, she says: “Thanks to the volunteers, our everyday life is easier.”