Story of Nusle Xiomara Martínez
The beneficiary Nusle Xiomara Martínez, 40 years old, married and with 4 children, works in agriculture in addition to making bows and hammocks. These activities allow her to make an income of 6000 lempiras per month (around $272), which she spends on food and additional expenses.
She lives in the community Carbonal Manto, in Olancho, where she obtained an improved wood stove thanks to the PROLANCHO Foundation, an organization that is currently working for the Central American Fund for Energy Access and Poverty Reduction (FOCAEP).
While building the stove, Mrs. Martínez participated in a training process regarding the correct use of the stove and how to maintain it in good condition. The final cost of the stove was US$85 (FOCAEP provides US$40, the beneficiary US$25 and the PROLANCHO Foundation US$20).
“Before obtaining the improved stove, children had to collect firewood instead of doing their homework. This was because of the high consumption of the old stove, which also affected health conditions due to the excessive amount of smoke inside the house.”
This beneficiary says, “When I had my traditional stove, I used to burn six sticks for each meal. Now, I feel so happy because I can prepare each meal with only two little sticks.”
She also told us that she does not need to go to the forest searching for firewood many times per day, as she used to, nor does she need to go on walking long distances (2 hours) twice a week. Thanks to the new stove, she only does that once a week. What’s more, when she needs to buy wood during the rainy season, she is now spending 300 lempiras less than she used to, meaning only a 5% increase in expenses during this time of the year. Now, it is
easier for her to pay for food and bus fare for her children to go to school; with the extra time that she normally would have spent looking for firewood, she helps her children with their school assignments.
“…the stove heats up so quickly, that the tortillas may burn if you leave them there for too long,” she jokes, adding that, “the stove is working great; I would not exchange it for anything, much less go back to the traditional one.”With the new stove, this beneficiary has perceived an improvement in her and her children’s health due to the reduction of smoke inside the house. Since the stove’s installation, she has not had to spend any money taking her 4 children to the doctor for respiratory problems caused by the smoke, something she used to do at least 10 times per year.
“Even my house has benefited from it,” she tells us, “because I don’t have to change either the zinc sheets or the kitchen painting; my dishes look clean and the kitchen looks prettier and cleaner.”