is that you don’t have any of the pic­tures to work with after the trip is over. Instead, I’m at the whim of my guy to choose and send me some. Still, what is worse is arriv­ing home at 11:30pm to an apart­ment where the pow­er has been cut because the pow­er bill did not arrive until after I left but came due while I was gone. At least I cook with gas so I could make cof­fee in the morn­ing before I went to pay my elec­tric bill. Then I just had to wait and watch the grow­ing pud­dle from my defrost­ing freez­er under my refrig­er­a­tor until they recon­nect­ed my power.

Enough of my sad tale though, I have won­der­ful pic­tures from the first of series of work­shops that I am help­ing with for a solar oven project. This was the intro­duc­to­ry work­shop in one com­mu­ni­ty where a group of women who signed up for the pro­gram were shown the stoves and giv­en gen­er­al infor­ma­tion about the stoves, cook­ing with the stoves, and why it is impor­tant to use them. I think there are 3 com­mu­ni­ties that are par­tic­i­pat­ing for now. We inter­viewed the women on their cur­rent kitchen set-ups: do they only have a hearth, or also a gas stove; how much do they pay for wood and gas, and where and how often do they col­lect wood; income ques­tions; and basic cen­sus data like how many peo­ple are in their house­hold and their ages. We can re-sur­vey them after some time with the solar ovens to see if the stoves have made a dif­fer­ence in their cook­ing and wood-col­lect­ing habits. Tomor­row is the sec­ond work­shop in the series where each women will bring some­thing to cook in the solar oven, and we will all cook as a group. Real­ly hop­ing for sun tomorrow.

I’m just start­ing to help out with this project, but the first work­shop was a great expe­ri­ence and I’m look­ing for­ward to tomor­row’s. I’m not sure how the com­mu­ni­ties, nor the com­mu­ni­ty groups, were iden­ti­fied, but they are small com­mu­ni­ties in a dif­fer­ent part of the state of Quere­taro near Huim­il­pan. As usu­al for a project with oth­er Peace Corps vol­un­teers and their asso­ciates, this is a great team that I am very hap­py to be work­ing with. Or, maybe anoth­er team that I wrig­gled my way onto, main­ly with my cam­era at first and the promise of being the doc­u­men­tar­i­an. Fine by me.