Mano con Mano is committed to improving the health of rural Mayans in Guatemala. There are 3 primary projects that are improving the lives of the people of Yalu, Guatemala:
Beds - did you know that most rural Mayans in Guatemala sleep on dirt floors at night. This increases the risk of colds, flu and pneumonia along with the risk of hypothermia in the colder mountainous regions of Guatemala. In addition, sleeping on the ground increases the risk of attack by rodents and other pests. Mano con Mano workers have been building insect resistant wood beds to help families overcome these threats.
Stoves - In rural Guatemala cooking happens over open fire pits inside the family home, which is usually a shack either made of corn stalks, tin or concrete block. The average Mayan family burns 2 trees per month just to make tortillas and cook their food. Black soot coats the walls and ceiling of the house, as well as the nasal passages and lungs of the people that are near the fire while it is burning. Babies die of lung problems, and women die of emphysema after 40 years of making tortillas over an open fire. The smoke from open fires is high in carbon monoxide(CO), an odorless, deadly gas that is the number one cause of unintentional poisoning in the world. Death is caused when ventilation is poor, which is often the case in these homes. In 2007, MCM began installing inexpensive energy efficient stoves with chimneys to remove the smoke from homes. This has cut the wood consumption and deforestation by 75% and dramatically reduces burn injuries from open fires in adults and children. Importantly, CO emissions are reduced to normal, safe levels as measured by the Environmental Protection Agency. The stove is also a much better source of heat to provide warmth during the winter months.
Bathrooms - The vast majority of rural Mayan families have no bathroom facilities. Front and backyards are used as open toileting areas. This lack of basic sanitation leads to a host of health related concerns. In 2006, MCM began constructing individual bathrooms for families that include flush toilets, showering area and water holding tanks. The goal is to have 100 bathrooms in the village of Yalu completed by the end of 2012.
What can you do?