Masons on a Mission- 2001

Preliminary Report by Pat Manley, March 6/01


El Rincon, (meaning corner) faces the distant Pacific Ocean, perched on the

edge of the western highlands, and at an elevation of 4500-ft. Steep

mountains tower around and above the village. The tallest, el Chickabal, is

actually an extinct volcano, and rises an additional 4500 ft from the very

edge of the village.

The mountains wring a lot of water from the moist pacific winds, and most

everywhere you look is lush and green. Tall trees support vines, and

bromeliads are perched everywhere on their branches.

Everywhere, except for in the many garden plots of the Mam Maya, the

inhabitants of El Rincon. Being an ancient village, garden plots and

pathways have been established for many centuries, and large garden plots

dominate anywhere there is not all ready a dwelling, and go a ways right up

the sides of the mountains.

Potatoes were being harvested extensively while we were there, as well as

plots of beans, squash, carrots and corn.

It is a very lush scene outdoors, but when we entered the dwellings in El

Rincon, the realities of the three stone fires quickly reminded us of why we

were there. Shiny black creosote covers the undersides of the sheet metal

roofs and wooden beams. Even when the fire is out, smelled alot like a dirty


We had a talented and diverse and hard working crew of 7 North American

masons, 3 volunteers who quickly became masons, a photographer, a video

photographer, and 2 doctors. The video of Guatemala Stove Project/ Masons

on a Mission- 2001 will be out soon.

By the middle of March, 75 estufas will have been built in El Rincon by

North American volunteers, local Maya masons that we hired, and assisted by

the estufa recipients. The remaining 25 stoves in El Rincon are being built

with materials we have provided, and by native Maya masons we have hired.

We have also funded the building of another 75 cookstoves in 3 very remote

hamlets in the higher elevations well away from Xela, to start next month.

Another dimension of this work became more apparent to me this year. It came

to me while I watched dozens of Maya children laughing, singing and dancing

down the road behind our video man, Brian, who was dancing and singing up a

storm. A dozen families stood in their yards and gardens, laughing, watching

the scene.

It was priceless!

We are not just building cookstoves so that hundreds of the Mam Mayas' lives

will be longer and healthier, even though that is our basic goal. We are

also building bridges between two very different worlds. We get to

experience how WAY too much of the rest of the world lives, and realize just

how easy our lives are and how good we have it. And once you are really

moved like that, it is not so easy to ignore anymore.

It would not have happened without the generous donations of money, time,

sweat and effort from so many of you!

Thank you all!!!

Plans are being made for a block party to celebrate this years successful

mission, and raise funds for the next mission in February 2002. TENTATIVE

plans are for October 7th, 2001 at Café Miranda in Rockland, Maine, for

food, live music, dancing, and ? Ideas anyone?

Those of you who are due for a photograph, give me a month or so to select

and process all the pictures that are available to me.

More later.

Su Amigo…Pat





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J Patrick Manley

Brick Stove Works

15 Nelson Ridge South

Washington Maine 04574

207 845 2440