Chiapas

12 Aug

I spent this summer in the beautiful Mexican state of Chiapas more specifically in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas which is tourist town known for its rich culture and Zapatista influence.  For the first five weeks, I took Spanish and Culture classes.  There were many places I got to travel to like Mayan ruins such as Palenque, Yaxchilan, and Bonampak.   This was the relaxing part of the whole 10 week Humboldt State University summer program. The second part of the program were the last 5 weeks of intense engineering/appropriate technology courses. I was part of the improved cook stoves team, you can check out our project page at [http://www.appropedia.org/HSU_Chiapas_Improved_Cookstoves]. We worked alongside our cultural liaisons, a non-profit organization, Otros Mundos [http://www.otrosmundoschiapas.org/index.php],to build two different stove designs called the Lorena and the Patsari.  The Lorena which is built of all natural and local materials was the design we built in an indigenous community over 2 hours out of San Cristobal, and the Patsari we only built for our own testing purposes.  The Patsari is more fuel efficient but the materials aren’t all so easy to find or afford, plus it is made with cement which works as insulation.  The purpose of these stoves is the replace the open fires since the women and children who spend most of their day inside the kitchen are being exposed to black carbon and CO2 emissions.  Two million deaths a year are associated with respiratory problems from indoor cooking fires.  Our project page elaborates more on our whole experience, how to build the stoves and why we built them. CHECK IT OUT!

I recommend that website, Appropedia, for anybody who is interested in posting up their experiments as well or any sustainability projects.  You can read about some hundreds of projects which have already been made.  (I’ll probably bring up some of them in weeks to come.) The site was created by my engineering teacher, Lonny Grafman.  Some of the other project teams in our program were Microhydro feasibility studies, Biodigesters, Rainwater Catchment Systems, and Windbelts. The URL below has more information and links to the other project teams’ pages and sites of the organizations we worked with.

http://www.appropedia.org/Category:HSU_Chiapas_Program_2010

E. E.

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