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Seventeen volunteers recently returned from Guatemala where Marco Tulio, EcoComal Factory owner, is developing his site to be an environmental training facility where low-cost materials are used to build comfortable homes.
We built Ecocina stoves, as well as the first of six 3-bedroom residences for future volunteers. Although we weren’t making wine, we certainly enjoyed stomping around in the mud and mixing mud with pine needles to make traditional adobe!
Surrounded by the sounds of welding and somewhat soothing Bachata music, working at the EcoComal factory outside of Antigua, Guatemala, has definitely not been a typical intern experience.
With minimal guidance from the super-human force that is Marco Tulio, this summer I have been working on EcoComal's first-ever social tourism project. The idea behind the project is essentially "you + a stove + a family." Travelers are given an opportunity to buy a clean cookstove for a family, visit the family's town, help install the stove, practice some Spanish, and prepare/share a typical Guatemalan meal with the family. The goal is to create a mutually meaningful interaction for the traveler and the family, and to expose foreigners to a Guatemala that is rarely seen. There are very few groups that do similar social impact projects around Antigua, so we have a lot to be excited about!
I have never worked on a project that matters so much, with such a degree of freedom, and that I feel so passionately about. Thanks for an incredible summer, StoveTeam!
The February volunteer trip to Guatemala where participants will stay at the San Jose el Viejo Spanish School is filling up fast! You can sign up for either one week or two (February 15 to 23 and/or February 22 to March 2). To secure your spot, be sure to send in your application and deposit right away. There are only 19 spaces available for this coveted language school and stove building adventure. For more information, or to sign up for the trip, please visit our website.
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Kim Forrest joined StoveTeam this July as the new Volunteer and Program Coordinator. In her new role, Kim will be a familiar face on StoveTeam volunteer trips and will expand the volunteer program to have even greater impact. She will also help with new factory development as well as provide support to established factories to ensure their continued success and growth.
Kim comes to us with a professional background in organizing, fundraising, and volunteer and program management for electoral politics and non-profits. She is passionate about conservation and responsible development in Latin America and is excited to share her enthusiasm with all of StoveTeam's like-minded volunteers!
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