Second teaching kitchen nearing completion

New vented stoves under construction
New vented stoves under construction

Los Planes, Santa Lucia Utatlan, Guatemala

Every weekday the mothers in the community of Los Planes, Santa Lucía Utatlán, Guatemala prepare a balanced lunch for the 310 students who attend the elementary school.  They have taken nutrition courses with Mil Milagros a partner of ViviendasLeón.

Now that the pandemic is waning, students have returned for a few hours a day. But, lunch is not yet being provided. 

In late 2019, VL redesigned the kitchen. It had been quite small and poorly organized. The wood burning stoves weren’t properly ventilated, expelling most of the smoke within the kitchen. The mothers had resorted to cooking outside in the fresh air.  But, the smoke entered the classrooms. 

In 2022, VL began the much-needed renovation of the kitchen. The new space is double the size of the original kitchen. We added a hand wash station and two more wood burning stoves at more appropriate heights for the mothers and with proper flues for ventilation. We added a plating counter and a dispatch counter, an additional dishwashing station and an area for parent workshops and a locked storage room. 

This week the roof was installed. The kitchen is now 70 % complete. And it looks like we may have saved enough money to install ceramic tile on the floors. The parents have chosen a cheerful color scheme and Benjamin Moore paints has agreed to donate paint for the space. The community is really hoping they can gather the funds for one gas stove.

The Guatemalan school year is coming to a close. In January when classes begin, the mothers will return to a brand new ample and organized kitchen adequate to accommodate cooking for a growing student body.