The Rotary Club of Sussex contributed $5000 to the Chapina Bonita Smoke Free Stove Project. It is spearheaded by Gary Stewart from the Rotary Club of Woodstock.

The benefits are immediate:

  • Preventing sight and respiratory illness
  • Relieving headaches and eye irritation
  • Reducing wood consumption by 70-80%
  • Helping the family economy

Guatemalans cook on three-stone fires built on dirt floors of their household kitchens. As a result, their homes are filled with toxic wood smoke that causes serious health problems, particularly for women and children. Tuberculosis is common and children often die from pneumonia. Eye infections, chronic respiratory illness, headaches and other health problems are frequent. Some women go blind in their forties from smoke from the cooking fires, and it’s estimated that this smoke shortens the average person’s life by 10 to 15 years.

With smoke-free stoves, this situation is improved dramatically. The smoke from cooking fires travels through the stovepipe, leaving the house relatively smoke-free. Because they require over 50% less firewood, families, including children, are less burdened by the need to gather wood and carry it long distances on their backs. And in an area where deforestation is a major problem, the stoves help save precious natural resources.

Smoke-free stoves are made of cement blocks on the outside and fire bricks inside. They are filled with sand and pumice for insulation and held together by mortar.  The design of the firebox can reduce wood consumption by about 50%. The stove-top is made of steel. The galvanized chimney pipe takes the poisonous smoke out of the house.

These stoves prevent serious sight and respiratory illness.  They help prevent deforestation because they reduce the consumption of firewood by 70% to 80%, this, in turn, improves the family economy.

"Sometimes the simplest things in life matter the most. Many of us take cooking for granted without realizing for many women and children it can be deadly” Carlos Galvez, Guatemala East Rotary.

Guatemalan women have expressed their happiness and appreciation for the convenience of cooking in an environment without pollution.