We went to San Jose Tenango on July 3rd and are back in Mexico City now because of political unrest in that area. We started the cook stove workshop on July 4th, working with the masons to build the foundation for the stove. July 5th turned out to be a long day because the masons built the stove walls. It was after dark before they finished, but the walls hardened overnight and everything was set and ready to go the next morning. July 6th we arrived ready to build the fire boxes. We got as far as cutting the cardboard forms, setting them in the brick enclosure, backfilling them to their proper heights and putting a layer of cement on top of the backfill. The next steps were to set the fireboxes (firebricks, insulated firebricks and a wooden firebox chimney form) & pot stands in place and filling the cardboard firebox forms with perlite for insulation. The plan was to do those next steps on Tuesday, July 9th, after taking a couple of days off for local elections. The afternoon of the 6th, The Hunger Project worked with the promoters (the workshop attendees) to coordinate their activities after the workshop. At that time, they passed out the list of families from each of the four communities who are on the cook stove list.
But, “the best laid schemes of mice and men go often awry.” Elections were held on Sunday, July 7th. The results came in and the final count had the top two vote getters within 400 votes of one another, out of 7,500 cast. Monday night the losing party decided to show their dissatisfaction with dynamite and gun play, which made the national news here. The Hunger Project decided to pull out of the area completely and to wait until the vote is certified and the local community has calmed down before resuming the cook stove project. We are now in Mexico City and will meet at The Hunger Project Headquarters tomorrow to determine our next steps.