Rosario Morales Suix prepares lunch in the kitchen. Her husband, Francisco (56) is coming back from his fields, exhausted. He lifts the lid of the pot, which releases the smell of tomatoes, onion, and garlic. He smiles, satisfied with the menu for the day.
Before building their Habitat Guatemala smokeless stove, Rosario was cooking in the ground. She explains how difficult it could be. “Three concrete blocks, some logs, and that’s it. I used to have a stove offered by another NGO, but it cracked. Every time I used it, it filled the room with smoke,” she explains. The smoke affected the health of their family, especially because their old stove used to be in the same room that served as a kitchen and bedroom. “We used to cough all day,” she says. For that reason, Rosario had no choice to go back to the “old way of cooking” on the ground outside. She admits that preparing tortillas in those conditions was a laborious task and that she and her grandchildren often burned themselves from falling logs.
Francisco and Rosario came to know Habitat for Humanity Guatemala’s Home Healthy Kit program through a local neighborhood committee. “Francisco came back home and explained the project to me,” Rosario describes. “Both of us agreed immediately: it would be a great opportunity for us! We wanted to be part it.”
A few months later, Rosario is proud to say that, thanks to her new stove, she can easily prepare three dishes at the same time without burning herself. Plus, the chimney of her new stove works perfectly. “I feel much better. I don’t cough as often,” she says.
“The stove has also made my husband’s life easier,” Rosario adds. Indeed, because the stove consumes less wood, Francisco does not need to go as often into the forest for kindling. “It can be really hard to find wood, especially during the month of July. He could spend all the afternoon looking for some logs, and would come back with almost nothing. Now, with the new stove, he can rest after his work in the field.”
As a result with the Healthy Kit Program, Rosario family’s health has also improved in other ways, thanks to their new latrine and the water filter. While the new latrine fosters a cleaner and more private space, the water filter keeps the family safe from gastrointestinal diseases caused by contaminated water sources.
Rosario is grateful to the group who came to build the stove and the latrine. Thanks to Habitat for Humanity and the help of volunteers, her family’s life has become easier. Speaking of the group, she says: “I hope that they have a safe trip back home and that all of them and their families are doing well. God bless them.”