Clean, Economical, Healthy, Safe, Environmental
This is how most Guatemalan's cook. There aren't many benefits to this. The one benefit I can think of is heat when it's cold.
The damages are numerous. The smoke is thick. Lungs and eyes are constantly irritated and related illnesses are common. Children are often burned when they pull burning sticks onto themselves or fall into ground fires. The metal roofs are ruined by the soot and smoke. The walls and everything in the kitchen are blackened and filthy. The cost of the wood is very high, either by time collecting it or purchasing it. One woman told me she spends $14 a month on firewood on this kind of fire (we spend the same on propane for ours). An estimated 6 trees are cut down each year in order to provide firewood for one family.
I've been spending the last three days delivering, installing and photographing new Onil stoves in people's homes. These of course eliminate the smoke, soot and burning dangers (unless someone sits on griddle, the concrete only gets mildly warm). They use up to 70% less firewood on top of that.
I really enjoy seeing these stoves go into people's homes. Their quality of life improves so much! What's funny is that when we drop off the stove, they often have it almost completely put together before I can get in to make sure it's put together correctly, they are so excited. It's quite the treat!