Through the lens…. part 2

Life-Saving Stoves by Paisley Dee

Miracles in Action has wonderful stories on their website, but until you experience it first hand, you really can’t understand the impact and scope of their work. I hope to share my experiences, so you can see miracles in action, and travel along through the lens of a photographer.

Miracles in Action works with partner charities in Guatemala who facilitate the projects they support.  One of their like-minded partnerships is with People For Guatemala, a charity implementing their stoves project.  Penny shared with me that, “When people think of sponsoring a stove, they think of a modern electric stove like we have in the US.  But, these are a very different type of stove, and one that saves lives and the environment, plus time and money.”

In my travels with People for Guatemala, I learned that much of a Mayan woman’s day is taken up with the chore of making meals for her family.  This includes either buying or collecting wood to make an open fire inside their house to cook tortillas and beans.  The open fire creates toxic smoke inside the house which the woman and her children breathe – the equivalent of 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day in smoke inhalation.  Also, children are seriously burned by these fires.  Their use of wood is so great that much of the family’s income is used to buy wood and the result is deforestation.

I was fortunate to tag along and photograph one solution to this dilemma – the installation of a $115 chapina, safe, vented stove.  Miracles in Action has funded over 1700 of these life-changing stoves in rural villages – an accomplishment resulting from generous donors who wanted to help women by sponsoring a stove.  The stoves use about 75% less wood, and they vent out the smoke, and contain the fire – saving lives and forests.

To see more of my work, please visit

Wood-burning stove

This is Juana, a woman needing a stove… as you can see from the thick smoke in her house.

New chapina vented stove

This is a home with a vented stove, making a sustainable difference for an entire family.

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