The stoves. When Rob Rheinhart of the Maya Relief shared this with me 4 years ago I could not fully grasp the signifigance of the stoves in the Homes. Thanks to the the efforts of Ron Truman and Dave Ott, they raised $3000 for the purchase of stoves and other projects. We purchased 12 Stoves from Maya Relief for $120 per stove. If we could and started a project like Incaperina to fund stoves on a monthly basis, President Lico could provide work for some in his district.
We installed 6 stoves, and left another six with the necessary funds to get them to the villages. The day we installed the first 3 stoves it was pouring rain. The first stove was at the home of a Branch President in cite kechi (spelling not guaranteed). They have just finished a beautiful chapel. The President lives in a shack with his wife and 3 children. He didnt even have a stove but was using 3 blocks to cook on. I saw no food in the house, but the church manuals were on the table. It was incredible to see Dave and Ron work along with President Lico. The first stove took about an hour and a half to install, but the difference was immediate. The smoke in the home was overwhelming and with completion of the stove all the smoke goes outside the home. The family was very greatful and the Branch President went with us for the remainder of the day and did alot of the heavy lifting.
The second home was a mom and dad with 8 children all living in a 3 room shack. The trail to there home was almost impassable because of the rain. In this home they were able to install the stove in around 50 minutes, and again the family was most grateful.
The third stove was in the home of the Branch President in the village of semu roch (again spelling not guaranteed. I have not be able to find any of the maps of Guatemala that have these villages on the map. With this family Ron and Dave also allocated money from there Donations to buy the family a months supply of food. It was interesting that at this family the mother was cooking Incaperina for the evening meal. Makes me think that we may possibly want to expand the Incaperina and include families of greatest need. We asked President Lico about fast offerings, he said the amounts were very small. To get assistance from the Church the Branch has to complete paperwork, send it to the District and then send it to the Mission President for approval. It appears to be slow and cumbersome and in many cases does not allow for the immediate needs. For this family Elder Anderson from Tehachapi California reported back to us the gratitude from the family for the flashlights, food and the stove. The father said that it use to take 20 Loads of wood, and now it only takes 5. They have to get the wood from public land several miles away, much of it being on very steep terrain. He said he now has more time to work in the fields to provide for his family. This family also has a son who is in need of treatment for a brain disorder that will run about 5000 Q (around $666 US)
Bless the good men who held on to a bar in the back of the truck. Because of my age they let me ride in the cab with the driver. We started calling that Day the Polichic Death march. It was a brutal day, but all felt so good about the work that had been done. We also left one adittional stove to be installed at a later time.
The next stove was installed in Senahu to a family with great need. By this time they had gotten the installation time down to around 20 minutes. Was was also installed in Nu Palin to the member of the Branch there. One more was installed at the village above Senahu in the homes built by the government after the mudslides. They said it took only 15 minutes to install the last stove.
Dave Ott left all of his power tooks with President Lico and I know they will be put to good use. Working through him on projects turned out to be the best way. We had people come directly to the Hotel and ask for things and we could refer them back to President Lico. Sure saved alot of hurt feelings and confusion.
Rob Rheinhart has told me that Maya Relief has now installed about 5000 stoves in Guatemala. He has also talked about a program whereby we can get a two for one match. I will follow up with Rob and quickly as possible on that.