Santa Ajtzalan Yon – Cement 4 – Smokeless Stove

Santa (40), mother of six children, Elena (17), Bryan (15), Jefferson (9), Jonathan (8) and Rosy (7)  and proud owner of a Healthy Home Kit, has lived in the community of Tzamcotom, Sololá her entire life. She cares for her house while her husband, Manuel, is working at a carpentry down the road. Since she was a girl, Santa has used a stove to support her family.

However, like most women in Guatemala, Santa has used an ineffective and dangerous method to cook for decades. When asked about her previous stove, she recalls the many issues with its construction. “I did not had a stove before, I used to cook on the floor, over an open flame. The smoke would also stay in the house, and it was impossible to air out our rooms when that happened.” Access to clean air was also out of the question. “To cook on the floor always affected our health; my knees hurt and we couldn’t breathe at all inside our house”.

After receiving materials to build a new stove, Santa’s family has already witnessed several positive economic and health changes. “I feel very happy with my new stove! no more smoke inside our kitchen, my eyes are not tearing anymore and we have been saving money also! Now, we only need a little to heat up the entire grill and to cook our food. We can put three or four pots on top and cook for the entire family”.

Santa also notes that the water filter and latrine have contributed to a change in routine. Rather than boiling her water or the kids drink it directly from the sink, she can readily access the supply in her filter and doesn’t have to worry about falling ill from waterborne diseases. She is also pleased with her family’s latrine, which is made of stone blocks and wooden beams. “Since building the latrine, my children feel more safe and secure, because they can use it without any inconvenience, also the air is pure and we have privacy”.

When asked about the group that came to build the stove and latrine, Santa answers. “It was such a joyful day! We Spent the day building and we had lunch together in my backyard! We thank all of them for their support and for coming all the way here to build my products, they have been of great help. We wish them well.”