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Gracias to the 16 students and leaders from the University of Oregon’s Holden Center for Leadership who traveled with us to Guatemala over Spring Break to help at Marco Tulio’s EcoComal Stove Factory! These young leaders worked alongside factory workers to build and deliver stoves, while building their own international awareness and sense of service. They finished more than half of the mud-and-bamboo EcoCabaña that will serve as a focal point for Marco Tulio’s environmental education center which will advance the acceptance of clean cookstoves in Guatemala.
It was 6:15am, the morning of our departure, as we watched the sunrise over Volcan de Agua in bittersweet silence. I was tired, my muscles were sore, and my feet were still dirty despite my best efforts to clean them every night. But in that moment, I never felt more fulfilled.
One of the words we wrestled with this week was community. Can community be made in a short amount of time? Across language and cultural barriers? The answer to these questions, I soon found, was yes.
I found community in the factory with the workers and my fellow students: in hard work, in sharing our life stories and our aspirations, in laughter, in singing songs, in playing games and starting mud fights, in sharing food and making tortillas.
I found community in the homes we visited to deliver stoves. They lived simply, in bamboo huts. But their community was full of love and pride. When their new Ecocina stoves arrived, you could see the excitement on their faces, this was going to make their community happier and healthier.
I found community with my peers in late night discussions that reconciled this experience with our own privilege and addressed how we would continue this focus, passion, service, and awareness upon our return home.
One of our leaders shared a quote: "it starts when you say “we” and know who you mean, and each day you mean one more". Today, when I say community, I mean Guatemala.
owner Marco Tulio has been selling stoves throughout Guatemala since
2010. Last year, he sold and distributed approximately 3500 stoves. As a
result, there are now roughly 26,250 people breathing cleaner air.
Marco is gearing up for an equally successful 2015. To see Marco and his
team in action, consider joining StoveTeam in Guatemala this November.
Help build stoves, make friends, and see first-hand the impact of clean
cookstoves! But hurry, the trip is already nearly half full.
For more information visit our website or contact Nancy Hughes.
Please make a contribution to help StoveTeam bring fuel-efficient stoves to Mexico and Central America in 2015. Your gift of $50, $100, $250 or more helps reduce devastating burns, protect forests, and save lives. Make a difference in the lives of those in need. Give today!
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