Day 9 – What’s So Special About Pasqual?

We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last eight days. We’ve introduced you to our Cook, we’ve shown how she and her family suffer at the hands of cooking smoke, we’ve talked a bit about the poverty cycle, and we’ve introduced you to some solutions that exist to help Cook out of her predicament. But what does Pasqual have to do with that, and what makes Pasqual so different from the status quo?

On Day 1, we discussed the nature of organic. We are all relatively familiar with how our bodies work, that we have various organs and parts that all perform different functions. It is possible for us to live without some of these body parts, but there are others which are kinda hard to do without. Day in and day out, these various parts all do their thing, and we go on with life giving nary a thought to this bundle of pieces we call the human body. It is with this model in mind that Pasqual was born. You wouldn’t try to eat a sandwich with your armpit, and you surely wouldn’t try to climb a mountain without your feet and hands. So, why is the problem of cooking smoke generally approached with one solution, by one group, in one region? Why are important parts of the solution to this puzzle left out?

Let me paint a little picture for you. Pretend you are our Cook, living in a remote village in Brazil. You cook with wood, your mother cooks with wood, your family has always cooked with wood. Sure, people get sick, but that’s just life. One day, a group comes to your village and demonstrates this new metal stove that will help reduce your exposure to smoke. Heck, they give it to you for free! Awesome. They hang around a bit, teach some of your other family and friends, and provide them with stoves too. Great, everyone wins. Well, it may seem that way on the surface, but this example exposes many of the flaws with the way many of these relief projects have been carried out.

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Were these projects bad? No, they were not. Did the people who ran them do the wrong thing? No, they did not. Did the people who received the new stoves benefit from them? They certainly did. So, what’s the deal? I like to describe these projects as a flash in the pan. They come in and do their thing, but leave no lasting impact or long term change.

The solutions that our stove-distributing ancestors used for the problems at hand were right for the time. Sure, sometimes the programs were done poorly, and sometimes they distributed low quality products. But, in general, I like to think they were doing the right thing.

One reason these projects tend to be approached in the same manner, over and over again, is called inertia. Basically, an object in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force. Call it the status quo. Things will always be done the same way until someone changes the way things are done. Well amigos, that’s what Pasqual is here to do.

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To put it plainly, Pasqual is here to climb the mountain. We are going to use our hands and our feet. We are going to use our eyes to see ahead, our stomachs to give us energy, and our brain to bring it all together. We understand that our Cook needs more than just a rocket stove, and she needs more than just a solar oven. But, beyond that, she needs more than a group of folks who come in with a solution to her problems and leave when the money dries up.

And that’s the beauty of Pasqual. We don’t make rocket stoves or solar ovens. Heck, I don’t know if I’d want a solar oven made by me anyway. What we are doing is bringing the best solar ovens, the best rocket stoves, and the best associated technologies together. We are going to develop the framework for these groups to get their products into the hands of Cook in a cost effective way. Believe you me, our partners wish they could provide their products to each and every Cook on Earth, but things just don’t work that way. There are lots of barriers in the way, and money is only one of them.

Fine, but what made the old projects wrong? Tune in later for more on why the old ways weren’t best, and how Pasqual will overcome the inertia that keeps things going in the same old way.

To be continued…

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