Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2003 08:16:57 -0500
To: "Norbert Senf" <>
From: Patrick Manley <>

Subject: Masons on a Mission

        This January I will be leaving on my fifth mission to the mountains of Guatemala to help build vented, clean burning masonry cookstoves (estufas) for the indigenous Maya who live there. Most of you know by now of the respiratory illness, loss of vision, and burns that the un-vented 3 stone fires cause.

        I will arrive in Guatemala 2 weeks ahead of everyone participating this year, in order to take a few weeks of spanish school, in the village of San Marcos, on the shore of Lake Atitlan. There is a group of  North Americans in San Marcos with their own program of building masonry estufas,  very similar to the estufas we build, for the Maya that live around the lake. I will be spending time working with them, to compare and hopefully improve estufa designs.

        I will then meet up with Tom Clarke (Guatemala Stove Project) when he arrives from Canada on February 7th, in Xela, and we will spend the next week preparing for the arrival of the volunteers. We will also be doing photographic verification of the hundreds of estufas that have been built by the local Maya masons since last February, who we pay to build estufas for us while we are here at home.
        On  Saturday, February 14th, all of this years volunteers, including my wife Carol, will arrive in Guatemala. We will all begin building estufas on Monday or Tuesday.

        This year MOM has 4 new volunteers, all from Maine. Joe is a builder, Norman is a mason, Katie is Norman's 24 year old daughter and is fluent in spanish, and Sue is a high school spanish teacher. Of course, most estufas are now built by our Maya masons. The real value of the volunteers is to put an American "face" on at least some the estufas that are built by us, and of the stories told by the volunteers upon returning home, that hopefully will move others to help support our project.

        Work will taper off around Feb 24-25, and most volunteers will then take some time for themselves before flying home on Feb 28th.

        It is a wonderful thing to meet the families each year, and to photograph them alongside their new estufas. Any possible doubt of the value of this project goes up in smoke when I see the clear, smiling eyes of women no longer burning their eyes with wood smoke every day, and children that are no longer at risk of respiratory illnesses, or serious burns from stumbling into the fire!

        I feel fortunate to be able to spend the time, energy, and money that it takes for me to do this project. Together with the Guatemala Stove Project, we have placed over 1200 estufas in the past 4 years. There are many thousands to go.

        I extend to you this invitation to contribute a little of your own good fortune, and dramatically improve the quality of life for as many Maya families as you feel appropriate. While any size donation is appreciated, $150 will build one family a new estufa, and you will receive a photo of "your" family and their estufa upon my return.

        Best wishes to you and yours for a healthy and happy new year!

Su Amigo....Pat

Masons on a Mission
15 Nelson Ridge South
Washington ME 04574