Madison Rotarians improve Honduran homes with EcoStoves

A woman in Honduras proudly shows the new EcoStove that Madison Rotarians installed in her home. (CONTRIBUTED)
A woman in Honduras proudly shows the new EcoStove that Madison Rotarians installed in her home. (CONTRIBUTED)
A Honduran villager with a sheet aluminum business works on an EcoStove chimney, one of his sources of income. Before Madison Rotarians and villagers build EcoStoves, local coordinator Carolina Tercero counts a village's houses and orders chimneys. (CONTRIBUTED)
A Honduran villager with a sheet aluminum business works on an EcoStove chimney, one of his sources of income. Before Madison Rotarians and villagers build EcoStoves, local coordinator Carolina Tercero counts a village’s houses and orders chimneys. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – For nine years, Rotary Club of Madison has worked in villages of Honduras with their EcoStove project.

“Our primary objective was improving health of children five years and younger,” Rotary District 6860 Communication Officer Dennis Sanders said.

Cleaner air is the EcoStoves’ primary benefit. “Most old stoves had no or very poor ventilation. Smoke billows into the living space,” Sanders said. “The stoves are safer because the firebox is inset behind adobe blocks and insulated with ash.”

The cooking surface is much larger. Stoves burn wood more efficiently.

EcoStoves are built on a base of adobe blocks, “roughly 1.5 cinder blocks and much heavier,” Sanders said. New fireboxes of adobe and ceramic blocks, bricks and steel re-bar are sealed with mud.

The plancha, or cooking surface, has a concrete base and is fabricated from sheet metal with re-bar handles. The chimney, an aluminum stovepipe, is rear-mounted. A clean-out passage made with a powdered milk can is underneath the chimney.

EcoStoves’ components are sourced locally in Honduras. Local craftsmen perform all labor.

During their stay from Feb. 22 to March 1, the Madison Rotarians stayed in Hotel Barcelona in San Marcos de Colon. The “mayor,” similar to a county commissioner, lives in San Marcos in the Choluteca “department,” like a state, Sanders said.

Secured in 2013, a matching $45,000 Global Grant from Rotary International has funded EcoStoves. Previously, Madison Rotarians built fewer stoves and paid practically all expenses.

The grant funded work in Pueblo Nuevo, Jicarito, Barranquilla, San Augustin, Comali and Sabana Larga. Carolina Tercero, Rotary’s project coordinator in Honduras, identified villages, engaged village leaders and trained stove builders and owners.

“The biggest issue is getting all materials together for villages,” which are remote requiring difficult travel, Sanders said.

Sanders is working on another grant, which can be submitted after existing grant’s requirements are satisfied.

Madison Rotarians included Dr. Amy Thompson, Dr. Michael St. Peter, D.J. Klein, Tim McMicken and Sanders; Maria Dyar, Brittany Bradford and Jevon O’Neal with Thompson Dentistry; and Calhoun City, Miss. Rotarians Dr. Jim Dobbs, Fred Nabors and Allen Dearing.

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