Chris Sweeney

Infrastructure and its importance

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Today I went and visited my Señoras where I built the improved cook stoves.

And noticed something interesting happening. The stoves which we installed roughly three months ago have made a significant change in their lifestyle. Yea they don’t have smoke and they use way less wood to cook but I knew that would happen. Something more is happening. Many of the women are taking actions to improve their own living situation. These are a few of the changes I noticed which were prompted by the new improved cook stoves:

  • Transparent roof tiles allowing light to enter the kitchen (previously a dark dungeon)
  • Pouring a concrete floor (previously dirt)
  • Purchasing new pots and pans and keeping them clean (previously coated in carbon and tar)
I think that this was just a little spark that they needed to make significant changes in their life. Once you start taking pride in your living environment other things start to follow, perhaps they will start eating better, or their kids can sit in the kitchen and study. Previously the smoke made the kitchen so uninhabitable that there was no reason to improve it. Now the smoke is gone and they see value in improving their kitchen and living spaces. I never expected infrastructure to make a change in someones lifestyle. I never thought about it before but when constructed in a intelligent and useful manner, bricks, iron, and cement can really change someones life. It makes sense, the investments we made in roads and other infrastructure in the United States make a significant contribution to the quality of life.

Peruvians should take note. I only say this because tomorrow at 3:30 AM, I am getting on a chicken bus headed to Cajamarca to celebrate Holy Week. – Cajamarca holds a giant paint fight on Saturday, which should be pretty sweet! Getting there however isn’t going to be. The road is unpaved and zig zags through some pretty crazy mountain roads. A friend of mine took the trip around this time last year, the bus was stopped because it encountered a land slide, she climbed over it with all her luggage, on the other side there was a bus waiting, that took her to the next land slide. She repeated this three times.  Luckily it hasn’t been very rainy this year so fingers crossed no land slides. In total it’s 185 miles and should take roughly 13 hours.

So moral of the story, infrastructure investments although may not seem important are and can significantly improve the quality of ones’ life. 


Written by Chris Sweeney

February 7, 2013 at 8:35 pm

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