A major health project in the community is one called “Cocinas Mejoradas,” or healthy stoves as we’re calling them. These concinas are stoves, raised above the ground, made of adobe (mud bricks) which diverts the smoke from inside the house to outside the house through a chimney.
The standard method for cooking is using an open pit fire surrounded by a few rocks. The problem with this is that women have to bend over all day to cook creating back problems, the children often burn themselves and the house is constantly filled with smoke, increasing the chances of suffocation and cancer. Building simple mud brick raised cooking areas with a chimney eliminates these issues, as well as reducing the amount of wood required for the fire.
This healthy stoves project has the potential to bring benefits to the entire community if one could be built in every home. AYNI built over 40 cocinas since the beginning of this project.
In 2013, the government started dropping off small gas stoves for many families. This action has reduced the need for cocina mejoradas and so more recently we have discontinued to build them. What we found is that many families prefer to use the gas stoves, but when they cannot afford their gas, they often revert back to using their cocina mejoradas, or they may use the cocinas to cook food that takes longer i.e. beans, as the gas can be quickly used up.