Difference between pages "Dale Miller" and "Erik W. Lang"

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{{Volunteerinfobox
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{{DEFAULTSORT:Lang, Erik}}
|firstname=Dale
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|lastname=Miller
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{{quickbar
|country=    Peru
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|Volunteer=   Erik W. Lang
|yearservicestarted=1967
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|Country=    Guatemela
|yearserviceended=      1968
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|Years=       1988-1990
|Group=    
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|Group=       YOUR GROUP NUMBER OR CODE
|site=        Chimbote
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|Site=        Quetzaltenango
|region=Ancash
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|Sector=     Appropriate Technology
|program=Youth and Community Development
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|assignment01=Youth and Community Development
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}}
 
}}
  
I trained in rural Kansas in the fall of 1966 but ended up in a city the P.C. director had called "The armpit of the world." In those days Chimbote produced over half the fishmeal in the world (I was told). It had grown from a small town of a few thousand to 200,000 in a very brief period. Neighborhoods were very organized because only a few years had passed since government troops would forcibly expel settlers who would "invade" a piece of land and create a community. At age 21 I didn't have much of a clue but I was able to help because I had skills like being able to read, use a typewriter, drive a car etc. I helped get a school built and got started on street lighting. Jobs weren't always well defined in those days. My instructions from the regional rep were to go find a place to live and help the people. There was a "golpe del estado" when I was there, but at least outside the capital it seemed to have no effect on day to day life or local bureaucracy.
 
  
Though I wouldn't have joined if the draft hadn't been hanging over me, I tried to do a good job and believed strongly in the goals of the Peace Corps. It was an unforgettable experience. Two years in another culture is an invaluable experience which more people should have.  
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[[Image:Erik_making_his_first_adobe_stove.JPG]]
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== Training ==
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Our group departed from Miami in November 1987.  We spent three months at a training center in the aldea of Jocotenango, just outside of Antigua.  I lived with a very poor family during training.  They cooked on an open fire and everything tasted like smoke, even the watery oatmeal.  We ate beans and tortillas almost all the time.  My stomach was unsettled during my whole two years of service, and I drank a bottle of Pepto-Bismol about every week (not really).  I survived by trading my smoky tasting food for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Out of about 50 trainees, about 45 of us were sworn in as volunteers in February 1988 in Guatemala City.
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[[Image:1489.jpg]]
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== Volunteer Service ==
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My project was called '''appropriate technology'''[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appropriate_technology].  Mostly I taught people how to build stoves.  The indigenous population was used to cooking on the floor.  Basically they would put a pot on top of three rocks and use wood they gathered from the nearby forests.  This caused their one room adobe houses to fill up with smoke.  The smoke caused eye and respiratory problems, particularly for the children.  This method also used a lot of wood, which exacerbated the terrible deforestation occurring in the highlands.  The stoves that we built, if used correctly, used less wood.  Even if they were not used correctly, they usually got the smoke out of the house. I think we built close to two hundred stoves while I was there.  And I know that they continued to build them after I left.
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[[Image:Rev2lang39-r3-e044.jpg]]
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I also taught people how to build latrines, mostly pit latrines.  However, we built a few composting toilets.  I did not have an official counterpart, but worked very closely with a fantastic individual named [[Julio Marin Quijibish]]. He spoke Spanish and the Quiche language.  He was paid by a religious based health clinic called [[Clinica Cristiana]].  It was a project funded by a church in Falls Church, Virginia.  They did exceptional work.  They had North American doctors who spoke Spanish and Quiche fluently.  I spoke only a few words of Quiche.  We also built a few solar ovens and a few fero-cement storage tanks.  However the stoves were the most successful.  I had a little motorcycle and traveled to many rural areas outside of Quetzaltenago to build stones. 
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There were three different types of stoves being built in the time period I was in Guatemala: adobe, ceramic, and brick.  My counterpart Julio had been building adobe stoves before I taught him how to build brick stoves.  The adobe stoves were harder to build and took longer.  The brick stoves were more durable and efficient.  There was a ceramic stove maker in a neighboring province, Eleuterio Ramos Guinil,who had been trained by a previous volunteer.  He lived in Cajola[http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=cajola+guatemala&sll=14.922227,-91.612587&sspn=0.081277,0.11673&ie=UTF8&ll=14.955399,-91.604004&spn=1.300212,1.867676&z=9&iwloc=addr] and worked mostly on the coast.  My counterpart and I built mostly brick stoves in and around Quetzaltenango.  We had two helpers: Santiago & Thomas.  My counterpart, Julio, invented a somewhat [[portable brick stove built on top of a cement slab]].  He was very smart.  He and I also wrote a manual on how to create cement slabs and make pit latrines.  Some other volunteers, Barry & June Moline, came to my site and built a large bread oven for Julio, and he started a small bakery out of his house.
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== Related Links ==
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'''See this 2 minute video'''[http://wlerik.wordpress.com/2007/02/27/untitled/] I made''' for a global warming video contest[http://truths.treehugger.com/] about my Peace Corps experience.
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More information about my photographs from Guatemala and Guatemalan paintings from my friend, Harry Danvers who lives and operates a language school [http://wlerik.blogspot.com/]in Quetzaltenango: http://www.guatemalan-art.com/
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== Contact Information ==
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Erik's Facebook Page[http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1117819700]
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Erik's Twitter ID[https://twitter.com/wlerik]
  
I've remained in contact with a few volunteers from those days and recently got Googled by an old Peruvian friend. We are emailing back and forth now and she filled me in on my other old friends - who's married, has kids, is dead etc. I've never gone back, though I went to Chile a couple of years ago. I keep up my Spanish. In fact, I probably speak even better now. I find that's quite important to me. Some final pontifications - Peruvian food is one of the world's great cuisines. And, Andean music has always been great and became a favorite of mine. I find it humorous that is has become so artsy nowadays - playing in the background at New Age bookstores and saunas etc. Because back in those days it was for Indios and was considered very unsophisticated - for hicks, sort of. And I never would have guessed a pure Indian would become President - especially a Chimbotano. He's here in the Bay Area now, though I haven't met him. He met the PCVs who were just a tad after my time, I think.
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[[category:Volunteer]]

Revision as of 19:19, 8 March 2008


Template:Quickbar


File:Erik making his first adobe stove.JPG




Training

Our group departed from Miami in November 1987. We spent three months at a training center in the aldea of Jocotenango, just outside of Antigua. I lived with a very poor family during training. They cooked on an open fire and everything tasted like smoke, even the watery oatmeal. We ate beans and tortillas almost all the time. My stomach was unsettled during my whole two years of service, and I drank a bottle of Pepto-Bismol about every week (not really). I survived by trading my smoky tasting food for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Out of about 50 trainees, about 45 of us were sworn in as volunteers in February 1988 in Guatemala City.


File:1489.jpg

Volunteer Service

My project was called appropriate technology[1]. Mostly I taught people how to build stoves. The indigenous population was used to cooking on the floor. Basically they would put a pot on top of three rocks and use wood they gathered from the nearby forests. This caused their one room adobe houses to fill up with smoke. The smoke caused eye and respiratory problems, particularly for the children. This method also used a lot of wood, which exacerbated the terrible deforestation occurring in the highlands. The stoves that we built, if used correctly, used less wood. Even if they were not used correctly, they usually got the smoke out of the house. I think we built close to two hundred stoves while I was there. And I know that they continued to build them after I left.

File:Rev2lang39-r3-e044.jpg

I also taught people how to build latrines, mostly pit latrines. However, we built a few composting toilets. I did not have an official counterpart, but worked very closely with a fantastic individual named Julio Marin Quijibish. He spoke Spanish and the Quiche language. He was paid by a religious based health clinic called Clinica Cristiana. It was a project funded by a church in Falls Church, Virginia. They did exceptional work. They had North American doctors who spoke Spanish and Quiche fluently. I spoke only a few words of Quiche. We also built a few solar ovens and a few fero-cement storage tanks. However the stoves were the most successful. I had a little motorcycle and traveled to many rural areas outside of Quetzaltenago to build stones.

There were three different types of stoves being built in the time period I was in Guatemala: adobe, ceramic, and brick. My counterpart Julio had been building adobe stoves before I taught him how to build brick stoves. The adobe stoves were harder to build and took longer. The brick stoves were more durable and efficient. There was a ceramic stove maker in a neighboring province, Eleuterio Ramos Guinil,who had been trained by a previous volunteer. He lived in Cajola[2] and worked mostly on the coast. My counterpart and I built mostly brick stoves in and around Quetzaltenango. We had two helpers: Santiago & Thomas. My counterpart, Julio, invented a somewhat portable brick stove built on top of a cement slab. He was very smart. He and I also wrote a manual on how to create cement slabs and make pit latrines. Some other volunteers, Barry & June Moline, came to my site and built a large bread oven for Julio, and he started a small bakery out of his house.

Related Links

See this 2 minute video[3] I made for a global warming video contest[4] about my Peace Corps experience.

More information about my photographs from Guatemala and Guatemalan paintings from my friend, Harry Danvers who lives and operates a language school [5]in Quetzaltenango: http://www.guatemalan-art.com/

Contact Information

Erik's Facebook Page[6] Erik's Twitter ID[7]