Staff member Luis Chavarria with Doña Paola Obando and her new stove.

Photo: Staff member Luis Chavarria with Doña Paola Obando and her new stove.

Intern Charles Allison-Godfrey, took up the challenge and work with the community of Goyena for a period of three months, focusing on environmental issues and improved cook stoves. He tells us: “I asked Doña Paola Obando to estimate how much wood she uses to cook one meal for her family of 6. She brought out one pile, and then another. By the time the wood was gathered to her satisfaction, I weighed it. It was just over 9 pounds. Paola uses this wood to cook over a simple three-stone fire. Because the fire is open, the wood burns quickly, releasing much of its energy in smoke rather than heat. The smoke has no place to escape, and stays in her home, blackening the walls of her house just as it blackens the lungs of her family. This three-stone fire is the dominant method of cooking in Goyena. I returned, for another measurement, after we had installed her new stove. The stoves, produced locally, use far less wood and have chimneys so that all smoke escapes through the roof. They are paid for by a collaboration between families and New Haven/León SCP. We repeated the earlier process. The wood weighed just 3 pounds. This shift in energy use reduces the amount her family spends on wood, decreases rates of respiratory infections, and, on a larger scale, it lessens the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. In conjunction with efforts from the United States, we can make a difference in the community of Goyena, and in the city of New Haven”.