To celebrate Earth Day, we wanted to share this report from Ricardo Garcia, project coordinator in Santa Rosa, Honduras. It’s about eco-stoves that help both the environment and the health of our sponsored friends.
In 2008, the Santa Rosa project in Honduras initiated a medical campaign to benefit all the sponsored members and their families.
During the campaign, we learned that many mothers suffered from pulmonary emphysema caused by excessive smoke from cooking food.
Later in 2009, we initiated a reforestation effort because large swaths of trees were being cut in the communities. But the problem wasn’t getting better.
One solution addressed both problems. We decided to build eco-stoves because they use less firewood and they don’t produce smoke in the home.
Getting the program off the ground was difficult because the families were accustomed to seeing lots of smoke in their homes. But they see how much better off they are financially because they don’t buy as much firewood.
Their homes are free from smoke, their food is cooked healthier, and the man does not have to spend so much time gathering firewood. This gives him more time to work.
The project also provides an opportunity for the families to interact because from the beginning, we trained them to build the stoves.
The fathers help other households with the construction and in the process of sharing their knowledge, they support other members of the community and live better together.
The plan is to have enough funds to support this initiative so that someday, all families in the CFCA communities of Santa Rosa who need an eco-stove can have one. This should greatly diminish the deforestation problem.
We also hope to incorporate the support of other organizations and institutions to help us supply so many families.
One morning, as Walk2gether was winding its way through a rain forest in Costa Rica, MarÌa Alejandra Villalobos, the 11-year-old daughter of Rafa, San Jose project coordinator, was inspired by the forest’s natural beauty. She penned a poem and presented it to Bob Hentzen.
We translated her poem to English for you but included the Spanish version, too. Happy Earth Day!
The Rain Forest
by Maria Alejandra Villalobos
There is not a sound nor is life visible,
Only a symphony of rain drops with a plic plac sound …
Many colors canít be seen, only a deep natural green but, once in a while,
A little colorful flower gives life to the landscape …
There are different shades of leaves, large, small and coiled
Trees, with their chests held high, show their beauty …
The flora is striking in its natural green
And the moss offers a beautiful coat to the proud trees …
Far ahead a calf is grazing up in the mountain
A very straight pine tree firmly holds its acorns …
It is then when a soft wind can be felt,
The leaves wave from side to side …
The monkeys and squirrels are sleeping in the trees
Waiting for their reward in the form of a beautiful rainbow.
El Bosque Lluvioso
por Maria Alejandra Villalobos
No hay ruido ni tampoco se ve vida
Solo se oye la sinfonÌa de las gotas de lluvia que caen suavemente haciendo plic plac …
No se ven muchos colores, solo un verde natural, aunque, de vez en cuando,
Una florecilla colorada le da vida al lugarÖ
Hay distintas formas de hojas, grandes, cortas y enrolladas
Hay ·rboles que con su pecho en alto muestran su belleza …
La flora se resalta en su verde natural
Y los musgos verdes le dan un hermoso abrigo a los ·rboles grandes …
A lo lejos se ve una vaquita pastando en la montaÒa
Un pinito parado bien derechito mantiene con firmeza sus bellotas …
Cuando se viene una r·faga de viento las hojas, amarradas de sus raÌces,
Se ondulan de lado a lado
Los monos y las ardillas duermen en lo ·rboles
Esperando de recompensa un lindo arcoÌris.
After hiding in the mountains for 12 years during El Salvadorís civil war, residents of Cinquera returned in 1992 to find their beloved town destroyed. They rebuilt the community, and with the help of CFCA sponsorship, families began again to dream of the future.
Today, CFCA sponsors 500 children, youth and aging in Cinquera, and the town is a model of community cooperation and pride. Sponsored members and their families, organized by CFCA Coordinator Blanca Aminta, participate in a monthly cleanup, a reflection of their unity and love of the place they call home.
More about Cinquera, El Salvador:
Read more about the cleaning campaign in Cinquera.
View before and after photos of Cinquera during cleanup day.
Read a history of Cinquera.
See some photos of Cinquera that help explain its history.
By Malou Navio, Antipolo project coordinator
Project staff and CFCA families in the Antipolo project respond to the call to care for our Mother Earth by caring for our local environment through a program we call Clean and Green.
Clean and Green enhances CFCA sponsorship for our sponsored individuals and their families.
The Antipolo project uses ongoing training, lectures and discussion to incorporate Clean and Green into spirituality and way of life and to encourage families to consider the ecosystem.
As CFCA farming families learn irrigation methods for rice paddies and corn growing, more and more are gradually shifting away from the kaingin (slash and burn) way of farming. The families in urban areas promote waste management by reducing, reusing and recycling.
To reinforce this practice, we do not use disposable cups, plates or utensils; plastic wrappers; straws; and Styrofoam during our activities.
Our sponsored children, youth, their parents and the aging in kapitbahayans (small, caring communities) devote one to two hours every Saturday morning to cleaning up their surroundings, streets, canals and rivers. This contributes to disaster risk reduction.
Kapitbahayans grow plants and flowers in easement lots and open spaces to improve their communities. They cultivate these spaces for communal gardens of vegetables and medicinal plants. They can also share the harvest with neighbors.
A tree-planting activity takes place yearly. Most families plant the seeds from the fruits they eat. Many sponsored aging friends love this activity.
Though they say they may not witness the fruition of the trees they have planted, for them it is their gesture toward repaying the food they eat without the effort of growing it.
We have planted and nurtured thousands of trees. The ages of these trees range from younger than one year to more than 10 years old.
They are growing in backyards, along the roads, rivers, in the parks, open spaces, foothills, watershed and shores in the communities served by our three subprojects.
Fifteen sponsored youth leaders with parent advisers are graduates of a comprehensive training on holistic environmental education. This training discussed inner- and outer-ecology, and cosmic ecology.
They also learned about the making of bokashi balls (click here to read more about bokashi balls), an indigenous technology of effective micro-organisms that eliminates harmful bacteria from fresh waters. They facilitate the same training on weekends with the sponsored youth, children, mothers and fathers group leaders.
The Earth Day celebration is one of the most important events of the year for us.
This year, the families will celebrate Earth Day with a parade around the town or barangays (neighborhoods), and then they will watch a film and attend workshops on environmental concerns and climate change.
The fathers group, with CFCA families in the communities of Angono, will celebrate Earth Day with a parade around the town and will launch their commitment and initiatives to heal the dying Angono River. They made 14,000 bokashi balls to drop into the Angono River to help heal the river and its species.
In our little way, we can radiate to each other, to the children, youth, aging and families, our dedication to care for the environment and our special love for Mother Earth.
Happy Earth Day!
The Dumagats are an indigenous people of the Philippines who believe that nature is sacred. Every April, family members bring their pets and livestock and camp out along the river for five days to sing, dance, eat and give thanks for all that the earth has given them.
CFCA respects the Dumagats’ values and traditions and is working with them to help preserve their way of life. About 200 Dumagats are sponsored through CFCA’s Antipolo project.
In this video, the Dumagats are observing Paskuhan sa Tag-araw, a celebration of nature.