Members, alumni and friends of the Western Kentucky University Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter will worked June 8-16 in Tecpan, Guatemala, as part of the Global Village program through Habitat for Humanity International.

Global Village trips are short-term service trips with Habitat for Humanity that give volunteers the chance to experience another culture and help communities that need safe, affordable housing.

Participants in the trip include Bryan Reaka, chapter advisor and faculty member in WKU’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; WKU students Allison Hohenstein of Radcliff and Savanah Russ of Jacksonville, Florida; WKU alumni Hannah King of Brandenburg, Chelsea Smith of Somerset, Danielle Marsh of Portland, Oregon, Christina Billings of Louisville and Austin Loney of Madisonville; and chapter friends Jennifer Stroot of O’Fallon, Illinois, and Emily Etter and Lily Reaka, both of Freeburg, Illinois.

The trip consisted of building new construction out of concrete masonry as well as building masonry cook stoves for families in the Tecpan area. Most homes within Guatemala’s rural communities have open fires for cooking inside the homes. The building of masonry cook stoves for indigenous Mayan families helps to reduce the carbon footprint of wood fuel by more than 50 percent, reduces the amount of smoke that children breathe thus lowering health issues such as emphysema and keeps smoke from the eyes of the women who do the cooking in the families reducing the cases of cataracts within the population.

The homes are made of concrete units that are assembled with the assistance of skilled local master masons and volunteer laborers. The goal for the week included completion of two of the stoves in different residences every day, as well as the substantial completion of the individual home the WKU group worked on.