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GSP has built improved cooking stoves with CEDEC (Centro de Estudios para el Desarrrollo y la Cooperación) since 1999 when Tom Clarke worked with Jose Yac to build the first 6 stoves. Jose Yac is the founder and director of CEDEC, which is based in Quetzaltenango or Xela (from Xelaju – the Maya name of the region) in the western highland Departments of Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán, Sololá and Huehuetenango. Jose and the CEDEC team have coordinated our volunteer stove building activities for over 20 years. Hundreds of volunteers have travelled with the GSP to Xela to experience the culture of the area and build stoves in homes in the surrounding communities. The GSP has also provided funds for emergency assistance for Maya families affected by earthquakes, landslides and drought conditions. We have also provided funds for various medical interventions over the years.

José Yac Alejandro  1967- 2021

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of José Yac Alejandro on August 2, 2021, due to COVID-19. José was the founder and director of CEDEC. He coordinated logistics for all aspects of the annual GSP volunteer cookstove building trip in Guatemala. He continually worked to improve stove design to make it more fuel efficient. José worked tirelessly to make life better for his K’iché community in the western highlands through the implementation of numerous emergency assistance, health and cookstove programs. José is survived by his 3 daughters. José’s two oldest daughters, Ishim and Utzil, will carry on the work of CEDEC at his request. 

José will be greatly missed by his GSP friends in Canada and elsewhere and by his family and community in Guatemala.

Thank you José for your friendship and dedication – you will not be forgotten.

The CEDEC organization was José’s reason for being. He requested that his oldest daughter’s, Ishim and Utzil, carry on his work with the GSP and continue to build cookstoves and undertake other projects to help his community. Ishim Yac speaks three languages – K’iché Maya, English and Spanish. She has worked with CEDEC and GSP for many years as an interpreter and guide and has now taken on the role of coordinating cookstove building projects. 

José’s work will carry on in her capable hands.

Photo – Ishim collecting family data during a GSP volunteer cookstove building trip several years ago.

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