Smokeless Stoves: María Tzoy Tiu & Lucía Isabel Albacuy

In the Pacorral Place, a tucked-away area in Santa Lucía, eight families are enjoying brand new stoves. We chatted with a couple of them who worked with volunteers from Habitat for Humanity Asheville.

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María Tzoy Tiu

María opens the door of the new shed. It’s a shed that’s been constructed to protect their new stove from the elements, as well as to provide an little cooking area that’s free from the area’s spontaneous torrential downpours.

“Before this, I used my mother-in-law’s stove,” explains María. She explains how much smoke there was, and how she had to cover her face when she cooked. She wasn’t the only person who used it, and she tells how it caused problems when various people would try to use the stove at the same time.

The new stove is made from adobe, which makes it affordable, but it also includes all the necessary elements to successfully redirect the smoke outside. Smoke is no longer an issue for María and her family, and she’s proud to be the owner of her stove.

“We are really thankful that the Habitat Foundation came,” says María. “Now we have our stove. Thank you!”

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Lucía Isabel Albacuy

25-year-old Lucía takes us inside the sheltered area to show her new stove. It’s been covered with ceramic tiles to keep it looking good and funcional in the long term.

“We used an old stove, but it didn’t work anymore. It made us sick,” she said. “The smoke would get in our eyes and it hurt. And it was hard because it didn’t heat up easily.” She explains how the new stove works much better.

“Now we use less firewood. My mom and dad get the firewood. Before they would do it every day. Now, only three times a week.”

In Guatemala, “getting firewood” can mean a lot of different things. In its most extreme case, that could mean walking for miles with a stack of firewood suspended by a strap around the gatherer’s forehead. Making that trip less often is a huge change in daily life.

“We are really thankful that people are helping so much. May God bless you all!”

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