Way back when, I believe I was mentioning how it’s like pulling teeth to start groups sometimes. It’s hard to motivate people to voluntarily attend a meeting where they will be sitting, for sometimes 2 hours, learning about how to mix a sugar/salt/water mixture for babies with diarrhea or how to properly wash your hands, or what gonorrhea looks like. So yeah, rarely do I have people asking me every 30 ft. as I walk down the street, “Jaime, cuando sera la proxima reunion?!?”
Times have changed my friends. If you want to know how to motivate an ENTIRE community. BAM! Offer them super cheap, efficient wood-burning stoves! I kid you not, in the last two weeks, people have increased their gift giving (if ONE bag of guandules or yucca wasn’t already enough). I have even more invites to eat lunch and dinner with my neighbors. Also, every time I walk down the street I feel like a celebrity because I get called left and right to stop, sit down, drink some coffee and talk about the stove project. Luckily, a previous volunteer found a great mason who knows his ish. He and I are ready to get this party started, so in the coming week, we’re holding two community meetings to explain exactly what each family will be required to provide for the project, as well as to explain exactly how the stoves will look/work.
What do community members have to give?
- $300 pesos
- A helper on the day of work
- Breakfast and/or Lunch for anyone working (myself included!!!!!)
- Build a table upon which we can construct the stove
- Attend a community meeting to learn about the effect of old-fashioned fogones on the environment and personal health
It’s a small price to pay for a $1,800 stove!
So yeah. I am pretty popular right now. To imagine that I’ve spent the last year and a half talking up “education” as a rewarding experience. Stoves is where it’s at!
(I kid. I think the long lasting experiences of education and working closely with women’s and youth groups will be what I remember most about my service. I in know way want you to leave your reading session today thinking that the best part of my PC Service will have been a 3 month construction project…)