In a small roadside community along Honduras’ Northern Coast, Ana’s family is finally breathing easier. Just recently, she’s made several improvements to her family’s living conditions. With a Home Improvement Loan from Adelante for $768, she was able to expand her kitchen area and install a new roof. While at it, she decided to build her own eco-stove too. Like most of our clients, Ana relies on a woodstove to prepare her family’s meals each day. For a family of six, that means a lot of firewood.
Knowing that quite a few organizations had partnered with politicians to distribute a variety of these stoves ahead of elections in November, I was interested to hear more. Asking her who she had worked with to install the stove, she stopped me proudly to make a correction – “I didn’t work with anyone – I made it myself!” She quickly added, “Look I even made this little oven to bake bread,” gesturing to the side panel of the stove near the pile of wood.
Throughout rural areas of Honduras, the use of woodstoves is very common because of the high cost of gas and lack of electricity. Even those who have just bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling or even a TV, don’t have the electric capacity to power an electric stove. I’ve visited many client homes where an electric stove is left neglected in favor of the inexpensive traditional woodstove.
For many of our clients, traditional woodstoves are the only option for everyday cooking – and they aren’t going anywhere fast. However, they do acknowledge the detriment that these kinds of stoves bring to their health – including lung cancer and heart disease. There’s also no denying the negative environmental effects through the depletion of Honduras’ beautiful forests, to the reduction in air quality through the emission of smoke.
That’s what makes eco-stoves so vital here today (and all over the world). While she does not see transitioning to a gas or electric stove as a viable option for her family, Ana has built a more efficient stove that uses less wood and has a long chimney that keeps her kitchen free of dangerous smoke. With three children still in the house between two and twelve years old, Ana is now able to provide them with a safer living environment.
In the future, Adelante would like to set up strategic partnerships to promote clean cookstoves in the areas we work. In the meatime, we commend women like Ana who take the initiative to do so on their own.
This blog post was written by Adelante's International Development Coordinator Gina Cappuccitti based in La Ceiba, Honduras. Gina received her BA degree in International Relations from SUNY New Paltz and started with Adelante in August 2014.