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(translated from Spanish)
In August, 2007, I stopped working for an NGO and soon I was among the thousands of unemployed people in Guatemala with the responsibility of supporting my wife Ana Luisa, and my three children. I started looking for other work but it was not easy to find another job.
After a lot of searching I found some friends and NGO managers who encouraged me to develop a prototype stove to support the families they helped in Guatemala. With capital of Q600.00 ($75.00), I bought four large bricks, sand, pumice, a metal barrel and a few pieces of iron. My tool were a jig that needed repair and an old drill that I already had. With some paper and a pencil, I started to design a stove.
I called my design the ECOCOMAL. The design was approved and I received 100% payment for five stoves. With these funds I had enough to buy enough materials for six stoves, so I could sell the extra to another buyer.
Then I had a job and had formed the company ECOCOMAL SA. In 2008, Nancy Hughes visited me at my home and factory, since the factory was in a corridor of my house.
Nancy asked if we could help produce the new Ecocina stoves designed by StoveTeam. At that time I already had two models of stoves, and I asked if there was any problem with that, since I always wanted to give my customers a choice of stoves.
Nancy told me she was fine with me having other designs if the Ecocinas were produced as well. It was a challenge for me and gave me an idea about the way to strengthen the construction of stoves.
Thanks to this support, I started looking for a place to work that was roofed. Then Nancy came with a group of StoveTeam volunteers who helped build a new roof and some desks. Next, my friend William offered to lend me money to buy land and to get a better setup for the factory.
StoveTeam helped me find buyers and the business has grown. We currently have 11 employees on salary, which has produced the dream of a stove factory in Guatemala. Our factory has manufactured and sold more than 8,500 stoves and I now have the dream of starting many other factories in other regions of Guatemala to keep up with demand.
God bless StoveTeam and all the friends who have helped me to provide support for my family and 10 other families.