Adventures Guatemala, our long-term base in Antigua, is focusing their end of year efforts on gearing up for their 2018 stove and water filter installation project.
Through many house visits over the years, the Guatemala base discovered a trend of sickness and two unifying causes: smoke filled homes and unclean drinking water.
Most Guatemalan families cook their meals each day inside their small homes. The rainy season in Guatemala takes place about six months out of the year, removing the option to cook outside. Additionally, most families don’t have a yard to potentially build an outdoor pavilion or cooking area.
This often leaves families to build fires on the floors of their homes with smoke and large flames filling the room. This can obviously be dangerous for children in the homes and women cooking over the flames. Many Guatemalans are now suffering from conditions like bronchial diseases, heart issues, and damaged eyesight.
Families in Guatemala typically know the fires cause their health problems, but they aren’t often able to afford new stoves.
Angela Aston, the base’s media coordinator, says “Our goal is to provide families with stoves which would diminish their burns and families wouldn’t have the respiratory issues or problems with vision or headaches.”
This year the base installed about 50 stoves and has seen it change families lives dramatically.
Decideria, a Guatemalan woman, whose entire left arm is burnt from cooking over an open flame, explains how receiving the stove has greatly impacted her live.
“I’m so thankful for the stove that was given to me. The smoke affected me and caused me to cough a lot. But now, I hardly get a cough. The stove has been so helpful because the smoke rises. Thank you to everyone who donated the stoves. It has changed our lives. We can’t pay you back. The only one that is able to do so is God.”
The stoves also require significantly less wood which save families a lot of time and money.
“When we are able to provide a fuel efficient wood stove to a family it drastically changes their lives,” says Base Director Bob Corder. “The stove is vented to the outside so the smoke is gone. It also uses very little firewood which makes it environmentally friendly. The families now have to find a lot less wood to use, making time for other daily tasks to survive.”
Along with this need for stoves, the base staff have seen a great need for access to safe drinking water. Many families live in rural areas with extremely limited access to clean water, leaving them drinking water polluted by sewage and trash dumps. From this water, families have reported upset stomachs, diarrhea and other bacterial and parasitic intestinal issues.
Because of this, Adventures Guatemala has begun supplying water filters to families along with the stoves.
Angela says she has seen many women start small businesses selling food because they now have a safe space to cook and clean water to cook with. She further added that many children are now able to go to school full-time because their illnesses have completely disappeared.
Bob notes how the new resources are life changing but are also about so much more than just improving families physical lives. “While we use the stoves to bless families, and they definitely do improve their life, we also use it as a ministry tool,” He says. “It allows us to physically share the love of Christ with a family.”
Many Adventures mission teams that pass through the base get the opportunity to install the stoves and water filters and ultimately share the Gospel and love of Christ.
“When our mission teams help install the gift of fresh air and clean water, they can show a tangible illustration of the Gospel and how in Christ we are made clean and new,” Angela says. She further adds how installing the stove gives the base staff the opportunity to follow up with families, helping to build relationships with more people in the area.
The base plans to raise money for hundreds of stoves and water filters this holiday season and mission teams will install them all in the first six months of 2018.
To learn how to support this project click here.