According to the CDC, respiratory infections are currently the leading cause of death in Guatemala. To combat this, Pop Wuj launched Safe Stove Project - the construction of safe, fuel-efficient stoves in rural towns near Xela with the purpose of decreasing the number of lung-related community health issues and minimizing deforestation.
Pop Wuj teams of trained construction leaders and Pop Wuj Spanish students build stoves in three stages: 1) pour and build the stove foundation, 2) cut and lay bricks, and 3) outfit the stove with hardware. All materials are sourced locally and in-home interviews are conducted to determine eligibility of recipients. Recipients provide sand, panela (unrefined blocks of brown sugar), water, and simple tools. Pop Wuj provides bricks, cement blocks, cement, clay, the plancha (metal stove top), the chimney, and specialized tools such as levels and labor.
Improving stoves has become an important global development project as most people in rural homes cook over indoor open fires, leading to negative consequences for both the environment and personal health. By containing and conducting heat efficiently, safe stoves use at least 50% less wood than open fires. Consuming less wood saves the family money (and time gathering wood) while preventing significant deforestation - an increasingly grave problem in Guatemala. These safe stoves have made immediate and profound improvements in the quality of life for the rural Guatemalan community members as well as in the preservation of the environment.
Pop Wuj's Safe Stove project has:
Built over 400 stoves
Impacted over 10,000 community members
Decreased wood consumption and respiratory diseases
To participate in the Safe Stove Project, please register in the Medical Spanish Internship or Spanish Immersion Program using the link below!