Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day 649: Assessing the Problematica

We were finishing up the Pariantana Cocinas Project and wondering what we were going to do for our final 5 months... when 3 health promoters from Musho knocked on our door and asked to speak with us. They wanted us to help them facilitate a similar project for Musho Centro... and they were willing to act as leaders, to sacrifice time and energy for their neighbors so that more people could benefit from the Improved Stove. So, we told them that they needed to call a community assembly to judge the interest of other community members. We also told them that in order to be successful the project would need to start on June 8 and include meetings EVERY SINGLE WEEK until our departure in the end of October.

On June 8th, after just 2 days of advertising the community assembly via voice and loud speakers, 60 Mushinos appeared at the Loza Deportiva for the first informational meeting and sign-up.

On June 15th, almost 120 community members participated. In this meeting we voted for the governing body, decided when and how often we would meet (every Sunday from 3-5pm) and set down the rules. The group elected 4 women to serve as president, secretary, and 2 treasurers. The rules were principally based on good attendance...
  • People must arrive on time... Meetings will start at 3pm sharp. There will be 15 minutes of tolerance given, between 2:45pm and 3pm.
  • 3 absences means that you lose the project.
  • 4 tardies means that you lose the project.
  • Families are responsible for putting in the manual labor and family funds for building the stove platforms in an adequate room (4 walls, roof that doesn't leak, sufficient air flow, cleanly and hygienic), guinnea pig cages, tables and shelves.
And, on June 22nd (the last meeting to sign up), almost 150 people were in attendance. We split the group up into 4 groups and discussed the "problematica" - What is problematic about our current lifestyles? And then we searched for solutions. Many peoples complaints pertained to the kitchen... too much smoke, respiratory illnesses, vision problems, discomfort in cooking on the ground, poor hygiene, a waste of firewood & time, etc. The Improved Stove was the major solution identified by the groups. In addition people mentioned whitewash and transparent roofing to improve the lighting in their kitchens, guinea pig cages to remove the small rodents from their kitchens - healthier for both humans and cuyes, and plastic buckets to store boiled water so that they can drink clean water and stay hydrated.

Here is the whole group listening to one of the groups share with the rest their findings.