In our last post we discussed the creation of the room for the MOCHE Women. This past week we dedicated most of our time to building cocinas mejoradas or in English, improved cooking stoves, for some women in the co-op. Why would these women want a stove like this? Many women cook over open flames inside their homes, which cause asthma and other respiratory issues. Furthermore, firewood is scarce and expensive. Cocinas mejoradas use less wood, heat more efficiently, and have chimney’s which remove smoke from the home; all adding up to a healthier and more cost-effective way of cooking. These stoves consist of about 40 Adobe bricks, multiple clumps of mud (barro), and about twenty bricks (ladrillos). We contracted a local man, Andres, to help us put together each stove—we made seven. The reason we only made seven stoves is because there was a lot of labor involved—more than I expected. Each Adobe weighed around 40 to 50 pounds and had to be transported from one end of the village to the other. The mud had to be thoroughly mixed with water and placed into multiple buckets to be used by Andres. We all had experience rolling, shoving, and mentally willing the buckets to move, since each bucket weighed as much as we did. Once the mud was mixed and moved to the specified location, we became one with the mud. We slathered the mud on our hands and started laboriously working—or rather, playing—with the mud to cover all of the holes of the cocinas. At the end of the day, our hands, legs and faces were covered in mud—but hey, mud is good for our skin.
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