… 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.