Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Guatemala: San Miguel Dueñas: August 2015

Light Up Guatemala

The team spent time installing new clean burning stoves in homes to replace open burning kitchen fires.

This is what many families are using: an open burning kitchen cooking area.

What a difference an eco-stove can make. Here are some photos of the eco-stoves that we installed. No more indoor fire smoke to make people ill.

Here's the team:

August 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Guatemala: San Miguel Dueñas: Aug 4 2015


While working on various projects, we demonstrated several signs of a strong team.

Especially with projects like these, where the ultimate goal is to help the less fortunate, a team that is constantly bickering over what to do and how to do it won't accomplish much. Therefore I am grateful and impressed that our team works so well together.

I have noticed that we communicate well and discuss ideas in order to find the best route to accomplish a task. On the work site, we maintain good humor and positive attitudes.

For example, on the first day, a group of ladies would rotate hammering the concrete, so that the work and rest would be fairly divided. While one person worked, the others would encourage her.

Today I was very impressed with our work chain when we were moving the cinder blocks. By doing so, we made the work more efficient and easier. While we were passing the blocks, I couldn't help but smile because not only were we working as a team, but we were also making it fun. Someone started singing Working on the Railroad and others joined in. That made many people laugh and enjoy the work more. 

It also helps that everyone is good-hearted and humorous in our group. Dinner conversation is a blast.

A good leader can be very influential with groups. Our leader, my uncle Nick, shows the characteristics of a good, strong and intelligent leader. He keeps the group happy and everyone feeling like they're important and included. (Sure, I may be biased because he is family, but I'm sure others would agree.) He is very skilled at getting us to work as a team and have a good attitude doing so.

Leaders can change everything about a group and I'm glad my uncle is our leader.

Teamwork is key when working in a large group such as this one. I know that we will accomplish a lot with the people, the attitudes and the teamwork that we have.

With the right people, work doesn't feel like work.

Taryn Foster

 DWC Participant
Guatemala: August 2015 

Guatemala - San Miguel Dueñas: August 3 2015

 Starting the Project
After a weekend of travel and getting acquainted with new team members and reacquainted with former team members, we headed out to Open Windows early this morning. We were all eager to get our hands dirty and no one was disappointed.

Open Windows wants to be able to offer meals to the kids who use their services. However, the area currently in use as the kitchen is really just a corridor on the outside of the building. They have a four-burner hot plate and no counter space, sink or prep area. It was hard to understand how they prepare food in the current space. 

We were directed to the area where the new kitchen will be and started to break ground ­ literally. We got sledgehammers and crowbars and started smashing concrete to allow for a new foundation wall. At times it didn't seem like we were making any headway, but by taking turns and just plain perseverance, we got the majority of the area clear of existing concert by the end of the day. 

We also made metal support beams out of rebar, which turned out to be pretty slow work as well. ‎Another task, less glamorous, was removing nails from wood beams that were to be reused. Some members of the group noticed the flower garden was getting overgrown with weeds so they dug in and cleared it all up. Then they went on to the market and bought herbs to make it into a bit of a herb garden for use in cooking.

By the end of the day we were all covered in bits of rock, dirt and sweat.

A good first day was had by all.

DWC Participant
Guatemala: August 2015