In the late days of June one of our co-ops embarked on a journey to Guatemala to change the life of a family - little did he know he would be the one returning changed. Patrick Sours, a senior civil engineering major at The Ohio State University, traveled to Panajachel, Guatemala with OSU's Humanitarian Engineering Scholars Program.
Colaboración Guatemala worked with families on five different projects: (1) gray water recycling, (2) comparative study of cook stoves, (3) comparative study of solar lanterns, (4) comparative study of water filtration systems, and (5) STEM education. Within these five different projects, the students were able to chose which project they wanted to focus on. Patrick chose the analysis and installation of cook stoves for Mayan families based on their needs.
Before the group could get to the meat of their work, they had to research the skeleton - what are the characteristics of a cook stove? Once the students had this understanding they identified factors that would influence the final decision of which stove would be installed. The parameters were discussed with Mayan families and are listed based on the factor the families considered most important - safety, availability in Guatemala, fuel efficiency, cost, size, and the ability to produce warmth. After researching four different cook stoves and interviewing multiple families, the group decided that the Chispa Hogar was the best option. Due to the group's research and hard work, 8 Guatemalan families received new cook stoves.