Volunteering across generations
StoveTeam volunteer trips draw participants of all ages. On a recent trip to Guatemala, volunteers ranged in age from 8 to 75 years old. Two of these volunteers were grandmothers, Chris and Jinny, traveling with granddaughters, Lily (14) and Kiegan (12). This adventurous set of four shared with StoveTeam their thoughts about their visit.

As advice for adults who may be volunteering internationally for the first time, Chris and Jinny both agreed that their experience with StoveTeam was organized, safe and engaging, both highly recommending joining a trip. As for the younger pair, Kiegan remarked at how quickly the time passed: “Just dive into it. You’re at the airport one day and then suddenly you’re at the airport again the next!”

When asked about their favorite part during their time in Guatemala, all four spoke about their afternoon trip to a local village were the stoves they had built were being delivered.

The girls recalled their soccer match with local children, noting the importance of experiencing daily life in the community. Lily shared, “visiting the village helped us to realize why we were there,” with Kiegan adding, “the experience was eye-opening. I went into a particularly smoky house, and that was what they had to experience every day.”

The visit to Santa Maria Sebaja was key to bringing their trip full circle. StoveTeam prides itself on the complete experience we provide for our volunteers. We want all involved to learn more about the need, cookstoves, and most importantly about how each one of us is positively impacting others by participating. Click below to learn more! 
Stove Facts
Do you love the work of StoveTeam but know little about stove technology? My name is Meaghan and I am StoveTeam’s Outreach and Development Coordinator. I must admit, upon starting with StoveTeam I did not know much about stoves, but that is quickly changing. Each month I will share Stove Facts I learn while working with StoveTeam so that we all can learn more not only about our mission, but also the science behind our work. 

This week: What the heck is a rocket stove?
Ever heard of a rocket stove? Ever heard of an Ecocina? I hadn’t until joining StoveTeam.

It turns out that the Ecocina is a rocket stove.

So why are they so great?

A rocket stove is an elbow-shaped design and known to be efficient, portable, hot burning and is extremely common in developing countries. It is efficient because it uses significantly less biomass fuel in order to produce a hot cooking surface. Because of the rocket elbow design of the Ecocina (as pictured), oxygen entering through the combustion chamber of the stove burns and heats, then the elbow in the stove creates the optimal path that pushes heat upward, heating the cooktop. While heat is being pushed upwards toward the cooking surface, gasses and particulate matter are left to burn below.

Although small, our Ecocina rocket stove is mighty in its positive impacts. Just to name one, the Ecocina uses 50% less wood than an open fire. This means less time for families gathering wood and more trees remaining in forests.

Stay tuned for more Stove Facts! 
This just in...
Gustavo Peña, StoveTeam’s first factory partner, is in Nicaragua this month. His factory, Inversiones Falcón, is based in Nahualingo, El Salvador and began 10 years ago.

Nancy first met Gustavo in 2008 after he and stove engineer, Larry Winiarski, developed the first Ecocina stove prototype. Reflecting on the past, Gustavo shared, “Larry began to purchase materials and with the tools that he had brought from the United States, we made a short list of materials and started working on the development of the first Ecocina.”

Fast-forward 10 years, Inversiones Falcón has produced and distributed 20,000 Ecocina stoves. Needless to say, Gustavo is the in-field expert. He explained, “I have helped with building the factories in Guatemala and Honduras.” Now he is continuing to mentor StoveTeam's newest partner in Esteli, Nicaragua – the Avanza Stove Factory.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, StoveTeam continues to help ensure our factory partners are set-up for success. Instead of reinventing the wheel, Gustavo, as well as Marco in Guatemala and Anibal in Honduras each share valuable details and information with each other. This mentorship will continue on in support of the Avanza Stove Factory.
To learn more about Gustavo and other stories from changemakers in the field, click below. 
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