Day 15 – The Road Is Long…

With many a winding turn… You may know this song by the Hollies, or maybe you don’t. It’s a sappy song about helping people. When I joined the fire department 18 years ago, it was used on our union promo video. It’s a poignant song, and can be applied skillfully to many situations. It fit well in the fire department setting, where we look on each other as brothers. Since I’m a sap, I get choked up every time I hear it.

I’ve always listened to song lyrics, and I’ve even been accused of singing them. Lies! The lyrics in this song don’t just apply to helping people, but to journeys as well. When we leave to Latin America for three years, the road will be long, literally. It winds, and we don’t know where it leads (in a figurative sense). And we will bear plenty of burdens. We will encounter poverty and suffering beyond our imagination, and we will be overcome by it for sure. But we hope to be transformed by the process.

We will begin our voyage in Mexico, home to nearly 17 million people who cook on solid fuel. Our partner EcoZoom took lessons from the Latin market, designed the Zoom Placha, and did a pilot project in the south of Mexico. They call the plancha stove La Mera Mera, for reason’s you’ll soon see in this video…

We will undoubtedly spend a good deal of time in Mexico, there are plenty of projects and plenty of users to learn from there. But this will only be the first step on a long path, one that will lead us through 21 countries for three years. While we are traveling, we will meet with the people who are doing cookstove and solar projects and learn from their successes or failures. We will introduce them to the cooperative concept, and find out what barriers there are to implementation in their region. We will meet with government officials and learn what programs they are implementing, and which ones worked and which ones didn’t, and why. We will find out what trade barriers stand in the way, and work on ways to reduce them.

But, even more important than those relationships, we will meet with the people who cook on Three Rocks. We will eat dinner with them, hear their stories, share a cafe de olla, and discover first hand how our array of technologies fit into their daily lives. We need to build these relationships the most, they are the ones we are trying to help. You can only learn so much from a book, some things just have to be experienced. Just ask a sailor, the sea takes on a completely different meaning when you’re out there.

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Oh, and I really want to see llamas.

Well folks, that’s it for today. Wishing you all a great weekend,

-Kyle

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