BENEFITING: Good Neighbors USA
ORGANIZER: Good Neighbors USA
EVENT: 2014 ASICS LA Marathon
EVENT DATE: Mar 09, 2014
Most of my friends and family know I hate exercising, so when I signed up to run the LA Marathon I was super scared and doubting I would be able to train and finish it. But the reason I'm committed to doing this is because I went to Guatemala in August 2013 and met 10 families - husbands, wives, sons and daughters - who lived in one-room homes where families of 5 or more slept in one room. Inside each home were traditional cookstoves made of sticks and rocks, that burns all day long - not only for cooking, but for staying warm since the walls and roof of each home are made from wood planks, sticks, and plastic sheets.
What I quickly realized being inside a home was how crazy the smoke is. One of our volunteers said it best when she said it's like being trapped inside a house fire. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see and I couldn't talk... and this was after being inside for literally only a few minutes. I was so grateful to step out of the house and breathe in "real" air - and realized that where I live, I can breathe in as much clean air as I want and not feel like I'm living in a box of toxic smoke.
In Guatemala, I built new cookstoves alongside volunteers and could see the immediate impact this would have on the families. The chimney takes the smoke straight out, thus eliminating the smoke from gathering inside the home (you can see more pictures here). Mothers and children no longer have to collect firewood as often as they do to keep the fires going, which frees up the children to prioritize school and pursue an education... something that so many children in the developing world do not have access to.
I can seriously go on, and on, and on about my trip to Guatemala, so if you're interested, let me know! I'll buy you some coffee and you can hear me talk for hours. In the meantime, I'm still training to run 26.2 miles so we can build more cookstoves throughout Guatemala and change more families lives. Thank you for reading through this long description, and I hope you'll support me while I run to save lives!