Smokeless Stoves: Regina Quiché Tay & Dina Rasela

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The Regina Quiché Tay Family

Regina is in her kitchen, cooking in a brand new environment. Her previous cooking environment was filled with disease-causing smoke, but that was what Regina had used her whole life, so she accepted it. When she learned that Habitat for Humanity Guatemala was helping people build stoves in her area, and when she learned about how dangerous her cooking environment was, she took advantage of the opportunity.

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Now, Regina is the proud owner of a new smokeless cook stove built by volunteers. She no longer has to worry about hot edges that could burn fingers. She doesn’t breathe smoke anymore, thanks to the tube that carries the smoke outside her kitchen. Regina is very thankful and sends her greetings to all the volunteers who helped contribute in the effort to improve conditions.

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Dina Rasela

17-year-old Dina is at home hanging out with her siblings in the adobe structure that is the kitchen. She explains the family’s cooking situation.

“There’s eight of us,” she says. “My favorite thing to eat is Pepian.”

Pepian is a traditional dish, and every señora has her own version of it. However, it takes an eternity to make. But recently, Dina’s family underwent a change that allowed them to cook that Pepian a lot easier. After partnering with Habitat Guatemala to get a smokeless stove, cooking has changed.

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Now, there’s no smoke. And the stove is much easier to use than what they used before. But there’s also a much deeper difference:

The new stove has enabled the family to spend more time together. The family used to spend hours getting firewood, because cooking for 8 people on an open fire required a lot of it. Now, Dina says “we make less trips to gather wood.”

We ask her how they spend the time they saved. “Together,” she responds.

“It feels good, we’re really happy with it. And we are really thankful for the volunteers that came to help construct it. Before we didn’t even have a stove.”

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