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Friday, February 12, 2010

Grandma Jody and Ethan are Returning to Guatemala Later This Week:

Click on the map above to enlarge and find Solola

My Mom and my nephew Ethan are heading out to help the people of Guatemala later this week with Cascade Medical Teams.  Mom works in the medical clinic and Ethan installs stoves in outlying areas.  My daughter Kristin joined them last year, working in the dental clinic, but is unable to go this time around.  I know she will be well missed.

I am so proud of all of them.

 Kristin, Ethan and Jody

For more information about last year's 

trip, please click on this link:


Team adds water systems, replaces fire pits

Posted to Web: Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 11:46PM
Appeared in print: Sunday, Mar 22, 2009, page A10

News: Last Seven Days: Story

SOLOLA, GUATEMALA — He’s only 18, but Ethan Pingatore of Eugene doesn’t think he’ll ever taste a better tortilla than the one he ate in Guatemala this month as a member of the Cascade Medical Team’s “construction crew.”

The 2008 South Eugene High School graduate was among dozens of nonmedical volunteers who spent the first week of March installing water purification systems and safer, fuel-efficient cooking stoves in rural homes miles from the Cascade team’s Solola headquarters.

“We went into a really small house, one room that was maybe 10 feet by 15 feet,” he recalled. “There were three little kids on the one bed, watching us. Afterward, the family wanted to make us lunch.”

Pingatore said he’ll never forget the sights and smells in the tiny home as the children’s mother used cut limes to cure the metal top of the new stove that replaced her family’s open-pit cooking fire. 

“Then she started making tortillas — she even let me make my own,” he recalled.
The same week the construction team installed stoves in 71 homes, Cascade team plastic surgeon Dr. Bruce Webber of Portland performed a surgery that underscored the urgent need to replace open pit fires.

In a procedure that likely will be the first of several in coming years, he began to repair the burns that disfigured the face of Lidia Rosangela Pecher Chumil. The 15-year-old Guatemalan girl was terribly injured last year when she suffered a seizure and rolled in the cooking fire in her family’s home.

Several days after her surgery, Lida was feeling well enough to high-five Cascade doctors as she got some fresh air outside the team’s Solola recovery ward.

Parts for the simple stoves are manufactured by Guatemalans in Guatemala at a factory constructed by HELPS, a Texas-based nonprofit group that operates in Guatemala year-round and serves as the Cascade team’s in-country partner. The Eugene team’s fundraising arm, the Cascade Medical Team Foundation, raises about $30,000 each year to cover materials such as stoves, plus medications and other medical supplies.
The firebox is so well-insulated that the outside of the stove is cool to the touch even after the cook surface is operating at high temperatures. The stoves also include chimneys to vent smoke out of homes, preventing much of the respiratory disease that is a leading cause of death among Guatemalan children.

Construction team members also distributed 80 home water filters to Guatemalan families and schools.

— Karen McCowan

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