Smokeless Stove: María Marroquín

Maria Ursula Marroquín and her husband Lazaro have lived in the town of Joya Grande for the past 36 years along with their three children, Rosalina, Angel and Lydia.

Recently, Maria Ursula and Lazaro received their first smokeless stove when a group of volunteers came to help them build. The stove took just one day to build but has impacted the family and their daily lives. Before, Maria Ursula cooked on an open fire “pollo” stove, built into the earth with adobe and wood. The smoke from the stove affected the family and caused coughing and throat pain. “Now it’s more comfortable” Maria says. Her favorite meals to cook on her new stove is pollo guisado, a stewed chicken, and caldo, a traditional soup.

To the group who came to help them build Maria Ursula is grateful for her new stove and the way it has changed her well-being, especially her health.

Smokeless Stove: María Xil

Maria Elisea lives in Aldea Xesuj with her two children, Maria (26) and Edgar (22) and her grandson Cesar (4). For the past 16 years Maria has cooked for her family using an open fire “pollo” stove.

Smoke from the open stove gave her fits of coughing and affected her eyes and lungs. Just recently, Maria received a smokeless stove from Habitat when a group of volunteers came to her village to help her build it. Maria says her favorite thing about the stove is the chimney that pushes smoke out of the house and keeps it from contaminating the air inside her house.

It is the greatest gift she has ever received, she shared. Maria loves her new stove. Now she can cook more items on her new stove. Her favorite food to cook on her new stove is a traditional caldo de gallina, or chicken soup. Now she spends less time outside over the open fire of her previous stove and now has an indoor area with her new smoke-free stove.

Maria is grateful for the ways the stove has improved her life and is thankful for all the volunteers who came to help build it.

Smokeless Stove: Nancy Can

Nancy, her husband Eddy and two sons, Van and Emerson live in the town of El Duranzo. Nancy would prepare meals for her family of four over an open fire “pollo” stove, which the family constructed themselves. Now, she has had her smokeless stove for over 6 months and is pleased with the effects.

When asked about the difference between her old and new stove, Nancy said, the difference is we don’t inhale the smoke. “The smoke affected our eyes and throat, now it is better” When we asked Nancy, “What is your favorite item to cook using your new stove?”—“Everything!” She says, “everything cooks quickly, and I spend less time in the kitchen.”

Nancy remembers well, the group that came to visit and helped to build her stove. “I want to say thank you for coming to help my family and for helping families who need it most”

Smokeless Stove: María Fidelina Tubac

Maria Fidelina Tubac, her husband Carlos Enrique and her son, Kendel Enrique live on the same plot of land as Maria’s two oldest children and their spouses. Also living with them is her father-in-law, who Maria helps to caretake.

She wanted a new smokeless stove because the old stove used a lot of wood and she was affected by the stove fumes they inhaled. “I have my father-in-law here and the new stove has helped a lot with his lungs. Now, it’s affecting him less,” says Maria. “The result is that more than anything it’s helped us. The smoke doesn’t stay inside.” With my new stove “it’s different because here I only use 2 (pieces of) wood and I don’t breathe in the fumes because the smoke goes directly outside. So, it has helped us a lot.”

Maria shared with us that her favorite meal to prepare on her new stove are her tortillas. “Because it’s what we cook here.” The flat iron grill and wide surface makes its easier to cook multiple at once.

To the group who came to build her stove, Maria sends her thanks, “more than anything I want to say is thank you for helping us because if we had to do this ourselves, it would be a great expense and we wouldn’t have been able to do something like this—thank you to all of you.

Smokeless Stove: María Melida Amador

We visited the home of Maria Melida Amadol and spoke with her daughter, Maria Leticia, about their family’s experience with their new smoke-free stove. Maria Leticia lives next door and visits her mom daily as they live side by side and often comes over to use her mom’s new stove. In the home, live Maria Leticia’s younger brothers Neilson (20), Jose Antonio (18) and her mom, Maria Melida and dad, Jose Antonio Sr. They’ve had their smoke-free stove for six months now and they are so grateful for the change it’s made especially for her mom. Before, “a lot of smoke filled the kitchen and it didn’t leave the area.” The new stove pipes the smoke out of the kitchen and the fumes no longer affect their throat and lungs.

To the group who visited and helped to build the family’s stove, Maria Leticia shared, “we’re very grateful to the group that God touched your hearts to come and to help us. We are happy and are so grateful to you.”

Smokeless Stoves: Celestina García

Celestina Garcia and her husband have lived in their current house for 4 years. Her husband works in agriculture, while Celestina is a homemaker, caring for their 3 daughters, Sandra Cecilia (8), Maria Guadalupe (6) and Ilene Estephania (2).

Before  partnering with Habitat Guatemala to receive her smokeless stove, María used to cook on an open fire “pollo” in the ground. The open fumes from the stove affected their health.  “Before we suffered a lot from the smoke in the house” Celestina shared, “now we don’t suffer because of the grill –it heats the food better and it saves a lot of wood.”

Her favorite meal to make is chow mien with vegetables, it is unanimously the favorite dish for all three of her daughters. For the group that came to help construct their stove, Celestina sends this message, “thank you to all of you who came—if it wasn’t for you we wouldn’t know how to construct a stove with a grill. They’ve helped us a lot. We’re grateful to you all, we are so thankful, the stove is beautiful.”

Smokeless Stove: Marta Hotec

Marta Lydia Hotec lives with her in-laws Maria Nastasia Colon and Valdino Toc along with her three daughters, Maria Dolores (10), Maria Juanita (6) and Maria Pilar (1 year). Marta is a homemaker, while her husband works to provide for the family. For the past 11 years, they’ve cooked with an open fire “pollo” stove.

The fire would burn her clothes and the smoke and soothe would char the walls.  “Now with this stove,” she says, “it doesn’t burn the pots and it doesn’t burn my clothes.” It’s changed our daily life too. “Before there was only one fire and I could only cook only one thing at a time. After the main meal, I’d make the tortillas, then the café or atoll – now I can make 4 or 5 things at once on the new stove.” Marta continues, “Before I would spend an hour cooking one item, but now, it takes twenty minutes to do each one (simultaneously). Now with more time, I can do more things.”

When asked about the group who came to build with her family she says, “more than anything I want to give my thanks that God who allowed them to come to our benefit; because, here, a group hasn’t come like this and to offer this blessing. In a place like this, sickness has affected us and for each of us to have the opportunity to have something like this—now we now don’t have to live with the smoke. We’re very happy.”

Smokeless Stove: María Elsy Yancos

Maria Elsy, her husband and their eight children have lived in their current house for the past 21 years in the district of El Duranzo. Recently, Maria received her first smokeless stove as a part Habitat’s housing improvements project.  Before then, she cooked on an outdoor stove, where she was exposed to heavy smoke trapped inside her small kitchen.

The smoke often got in her eyes and throat. What she says she loves most about her new stove, “there’s no smoke!” A chimney funnels the smoke outside of the house allowing Maria to cook, unbothered by the fumes. “We’re happy and content,” she says. Maria Elsy loves to cook traditional dishes but her favorites she says are stewed tomatoes, frijoles and lacha.

To the volunteers who came to her home and helped to build her stove, she says, “I’m grateful that you came. I’m grateful to God for giving you the ability to do this and for giving you the desire to come.”