Marine View Mission "Mission Complete"

We are finished! The final stove installation – the 128th overall – was completed about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Most of the team celebrated by taking a dip in the nearby river, or at least getting their toes wet. Okay, some of us plunged in the chilly waters and swam, which felt so good after working through the extra hot afternoon. Putting the last stove in feels a little like crossing the finish line of a marathon (I’ve run three). Like training for a marathon, you spend far more time training and preparing than you actually do running the race.

The final stove marked our goal of completing a job that has been many months in the making. It was a process that involved many of you and again we are so thankful for your support. I just wish you could for yourselves see how grateful the villagers are – together we have made a lasting impact on their corner of the world. While we have been amongst them for less than four days, our visit will no doubt be remembered for many years.

Life is hard in the village. We have only helped with a few things but the list is long. Yesterday a village-wide announcement went out that we needed more water. In a heartbeat there was a line of ladies in our school compound, many with infants on their backs, bringing in water jugs of maybe two gallons each to replenish our supply. It was a little humbling, and made me glad I bathed in the river rather than using the shower here.

It is pre-dawn as I type this. Then moon is a sliver in the sky above and wisps of clouds are appearing in day’s first light. Lidiia and Elena are also up early as they must cook our breakfast and pack up.  Another big earthquake struck Guatemala this morning, this time a 6.6, with the epicenter off the coast of El Salvador. We didn’t feel it but it was felt elsewhere in the country.  This morning we will distribute hundreds of the reader glasses we brought, say our final goodbyes to our new friends of Rio Azul and make the long drive back to Barillas.

It is pre-dawn as I type this. Then moon is a sliver in the sky above and wisps of clouds are appearing in day’s first light. Lidiia and Elena are also up early as they must cook our breakfast and pack up.

Another big earthquake struck Guatemala this morning, this time a 6.6, with the epicenter off the coast of El Salvador. We didn’t feel it but it was felt elsewhere in the country.

This morning we will distribute hundreds of the reader glasses we brought, say our final goodbyes to our new friends of Rio Azul and make the long drive back to Barillas.

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Marine View Mission "A big welcome in Rio Azul"

An enormous welcome by the villagers of Rio Azul tonight made our journey seem real, and worth all of the time and energy to plan and solicit support for our journey.

A highlight of final three hours of rough roads to get here from the mission house in Barillas was watching Tom throw soccer balls out the window to the gleeful delight of their young recipients.

A highlight of final three hours of rough roads to get here from the mission house in Barillas was watching Tom throw soccer balls out the window to the gleeful delight of their young recipients.

When we arrived at the village around 5 p.m. we were first greeted by two girls holding a big welcome sign for us. As we stepped off the bus we were swarmed by hundreds of colorfully clad villagers of all ages, offering hands and hugs. It was enough to make at least one of our team become a little teary eyed. That was followed by a series of welcome speeches by the town mayor, the principal and others.

When we arrived at the village around 5 p.m. we were first greeted by two girls holding a big welcome sign for us. As we stepped off the bus we were swarmed by hundreds of colorfully clad villagers of all ages, offering hands and hugs. It was enough to make at least one of our team become a little teary eyed. That was followed by a series of welcome speeches by the town mayor, the principal and others.

We all introduced ourselves at Willy’s prompting and a couple of us gave short speeches.   Earlier in the day we attended church in Barillas. A few of us rose early to take a walk around down. Barillas is not a sleepy town at all, by 7 a.m. on Sunday the city was full of life, most stores already opened, the marketplace crazy busy with people and streets filled with vehicles. Tomorrow we will give out the school supplies and start our stove work.

We all introduced ourselves at Willy’s prompting and a couple of us gave short speeches.


Earlier in the day we attended church in Barillas. A few of us rose early to take a walk around down. Barillas is not a sleepy town at all, by 7 a.m. on Sunday the city was full of life, most stores already opened, the marketplace crazy busy with people and streets filled with vehicles.
Tomorrow we will give out the school supplies and start our stove work.

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Marine View Mission to Rio Azul

Today we arrived safely at the mission house in Barillas and after a big welcome lunch and received our stove training. It’s late so I won’t post too many words but here are some photos from our day. Tomorrow after church we are off to the village. I am not sure what the cell coverage will be like in Rio Azul but will post if I can.

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Creating a Better Stove BDL & HFPF

Burn Design Lab (BDL), located in Vashon, Washington, with a mission to improve the lives and the environment through research, design, and development of outstanding cook stoves and fuels, developed a working partnership with Hands for Peacemaking Foundation (HFPF) in 2016.

BDL and HFPF partnered to redesign and improve the small plancha stove being manufactured at the Aller Skill Center in Barillas, Guatemala. This redesign resulted in improved efficiency, better heating and reduced fuel consumption. The findings from the redesign are going to be implemented in the manufacturing of the mid- and large-size stoves that HFPF builds.

This partnership will help HFPF continue to grow and expand their operations in Guatemala. Today there are over 2.1 million households, located mostly in the poorest and most vulnerable municipalities of the country that use firewood. HFPF, through partnerships with villages and the generosity of North American teams, provides clean, efficient wood cook stoves.

In 2018 four villages benefited from the partnership.

Centinela Chiquito and neighboring San Pedro Centinela are located 27 miles from Barillas. It takes two hours to get to the village of 100 families and around 600 inhabitants. The village of Centinela Chiquito had a request for 100 stoves. The village of San Pedro Centinela requested stoves for their community as well.

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This year the Alger/Means Team installed 100 of the BDL-HFPF redesigned stoves in Centinela Chiquito and 15 in the village of San Pedro Centinela.

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Buena Vista is located nine miles from Barillas and it takes 45 minutes to get to the village in 4 X 4 vehicles. There are 50 families and around 325 inhabitants. The neighboring Ojo de Agua has 35 families with around 321 inhabitants.

The Marysville Free Methodist Team installed the BDL-HFPF stoves in both villages this past summer. Buena Vista received 35 stoves and Ojo de Agua received 30.

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“It is much faster to start the fire, cook the food, Before there was a chuguro and costed me to cook meals. Before, I was tending the fire for almost the entire day, now the fire chamber is much more efficient. I have my own land, so I can make progress working now that I have time.”

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“The stove cooks much faster. In the past there was smoke in the kitchen, but now there is not, It is much better than what I had in the past.”

“I spend a lot less on wood. In the past we spent two bars on wood, now we spend less than half of that. We are saving Q40 a week now.” (Equivalent to a whole days worth of work)

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“The Aller stove is much safer for my kids. The protector bars on the side prevent the children from getting burned. It was a lot more dangerous in the past, because coals from the fire would fall on the floor where children ran around. They would also grab the burning wood from inside the fire.”

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Everett-Port Gardner Rotary Installed Life Saving Water Storage Tanks in the Village of El Porvenir

The Everett Port Gardner Rotary teamed with the Barillas Rotary to write a grant for the purpose of replacing the homemade water storage with a permanent water system that will last for years to come. Both Rotary clubs worked with Rotary International to fund the project. Everett Port Gardner Rotary wrote the grant, and Barillas Rotary agreed to manage the funds from Rotary International.

Team from the Marysville & South Everett-Mukilteo Rotaries Built Two New Schools for the Villages of Nuevo Sija and Sinlac, and Installed Aler Stoves in Esperanza Frontera.

With the Financial Support of the Mt. Vernon Rotary, a team of seasoned veterans and some new comers from the Marysville and South Everett-Mukilteo Rotaries built a two room schoolhouse for the children in the village of Nuevo Sija, and then turned their attention to building another two room school in the village of Sinlac.

They then turned their attention to installing 40 high efficiency Aler stoves in the village of Esperanza Frontera. The stoves were funded by a grant from the Rotary District 5050.

It was quite a feat to accomplish so much in a short amount of time, but the team is made up of members who have been coming to Guatemala and building schools for villages for many years.