Honduras is an exceptionally beautiful country: green covers literally everything! The scenery comes in stark contrast to the conditions some of our patients were living in. Bare dirt floors, flimsy wooden slats for walls, and aluminum for roofs in some of the poorer villages were not uncommon. Before ENLACE, most families cooked with wood burning stoves in their homes, causing respiratory illness and leading to emergency room visits for asthma attacks.
With ENLACE and Don Israel’s design, many of these families now have clean-burning stoves. We had the privilege to install 2 of these stoves which require significantly less wood, and pipe the smoke out of the house. Requiring a simple concrete frame, a clay tube, and dirt dug from the owner’s yard, these simple stoves have dramatically reduced the rate of respiratory illness in the communities where they have been installed. Earnestly asking about each component of the stove, I fell in to Don Israel’s joke when he told me the water we added at the end was the most important part. Eager to understand the construction, I asked why. He smiles and says ‘because it feels the best on your hands” as he massages the water into the dirt to make hard clay. Just another day’s work!
Community Medicine and Global Health Fellow