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Coming Home: March 2011 -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Coming Home: March 2011

A Recipe for Better Health


Photo by Ezra Millstein

One-year-old Catherine Melissa Vasquez plays near the door of her family’s home in the small village of Progreso, El Salvador. Thanks to the help of visiting Habitat volunteers, Catherine’s parents now have an improved kitchen area, meaning healthier living conditions for her extended family of six.

Before partnering with Habitat, the family cooked on a dirt floor in a bamboo structure that had no windows and a wide-open entrance. Without proper ventilation, the smoke of burning wood — still the traditional way of cooking in rural areas — would find its way into the rest of the house, causing respiratory problems for the family.

Now, as part of a local alliance between Habitat El Salvador and the Peace Corps, the family has a kitchen addition constructed of block bricks with a door and a ventilation system that draws smoke away from the space where Catherine plays and sleeps and sends it out into the backyard.