2012-03 March Newsletter

Team Trip to Mexico a Success

Hello from Mexico! Yesterday we finished our first team trip to San Miguel de Allende, which was a great success thanks to the hard work of trip leader Nancy Meyer, hosts John and Sharon Doherty, and the Midday Rotary Club of San Miguel de Allende.

On March 10th a group of 22 volunteers traveled to San Miguel de Allende to work in the small highland community of El Tigre, located about 40 minutes outside the city. Prior to our visit, the families of El Tigre had seen demonstrations of the Ecocina and were very excited at how little wood the stove used and the absence of smoke when cooking. 

We worked with 31 families over five days, tracking their daily fuel consumption and learning about the challenges they face in providing food for themselves and their children. The community of El Tigre is in a remote area where there is little wood available, and so families spend hours collecting firewood in the hills surrounding the village. Many of their homes are black from inefficient open fires inside their kitchens, and creosote hangs from the ceilings. We hope that the Ecocina stove will not only reduce the families' fuel consumption, but will reduce the chronic headaches, eye irritation, and respiratory problems they are experiencing as a result of smoke inhalation. On the last day of our visit, the families cooked an incredible meal for us and we had a celebration complete with piñatas for the children. Each family received an Ecocina stove at the celebration.

Each afternoon the volunteers worked in groups doing construction projects at the stove factory and a nearby school just outside San Miguel de Allende in Las Cieniguitas. You can read more about this amazing community and how they are working to provide quality education for their children.

In November we will return to El Tigre to test the families' fuel consumption after receiving the Ecocina. If you would like to join us, please email 

You can learn more about the work of the San Miguel de Allende factory and Midday Rotary Club.

Volunteer Profile: Jack Billings

Anibal and JackPrior to joining StoveTeam, Jack had travelled extensively in Central America, but really had no idea of the extent of the problems with cooking over open fires.  That changed when Jack went over to board member  Don Steely's house outside Eugene to welcome him to the neighborhood and saw a fuel-efficient stove on his patio. Don explained how the stove worked, and right then Jack knew he wanted to be involved. He traveled with StoveTeam in 2009 to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Since then he has taken two solo trips to the factory in Copan Ruinas, Honduras in 2011 and 2012.

"I had the pleasure of meeting Anibal Murcia, the head of the Copan Ruinas StoveTeam operation in July, 2010 at Nancy Hughes' home," says Jack.  "From that conversation, my wife and I went to Copan in February 2011, and I worked with Anibal and his muchachos for a week, building stoves. The experience was so important to me that I have returned, and have been honored to stay with Anibal and his family during this week. I prepared dinner for the family tonight, and it was a profound experience to sit at the table with Anibal, his wife, Rosanna, their two children, and Rosanna's mother, along with Flor, a muchacha who helps out in their home. This sort of cross-cultural experience is another of the ways in which Stove Team enriches lives."

Thank you for your commitment to StoveTeam, Jack!

ISO International Workshop Update

Nancy Sanford Hughes traveled to den Haag, Netherlands at the end of February to participate in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) workshop, which was the first international workshop regarding globally recognized standards for cookstoves. Check out Nancy's blog post to read about the results of the conference.

The workshop was jointly organized by the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

Nancy Hughes Receives Ruby Award

At the end of February the Soroptimist International of Junction City honored Nancy with the Ruby Award for her work on behalf of women in Mexico and Central America. This award is named for the first federation president of Soroptimist International, Ruby Lee Minar. The award honors women who are working to improve the lives of women and girls in their community or abroad. Thank you, Soroptimists of Junction City, and congratulations Nancy!
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