Change Yourself…Change The World.

How To Build A Fogon: A Paraguayan Oven
September 9, 2011, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Paraguay, Pictures Post

This is why I love being in the Peace Corps. I get to do really fun construction that helps people, and call it my job.

On Wednesday, another Peace Corps Volunteer Lauren that lives close by invited me to help her construct a special type of Paraguayan oven called a ‘fogon.‘ Made out of bricks and ‘mescla’ (dirt mixed with water), a fogon is a special type of outdoor oven. Many rural Paraguayans cook over open fires in their houses, which can be dangerous and also bad for their health- therefore, as Lauren is a health volunteer, a big part of her Volunteership so far has been building fogons.

It was an incredible day, and I feel that the pictures really say it all. So without further ado:

The mescla mix- basically dirt mixed with water.

The ‘before’ shot- check out the open fire that Paraguayans usually cook on, before we took it out of the room.

Lauren putting down some dirt to even out the floor before starting the fogon

Got our bricks ready to go

Wilma, the lady who asked us to help build a fogon at her parent’s house. Here is she putting mescla into pails to bring over

Check out this super deep hole they dug to get the dirt for the mescla!

Putting down our first layer of mescla

The first layer, halfway done

Filling up the fogon with glass bottles. We did this because if we didn’t, the amount of dirt we’d need to fill this up would be HUGE- plus, it’s a great recycler!

Patting down the dirt/glass bottles so that it’s nice and firm

Meanwhile, one of the family members is busy continuously filling up our pails with mescla…

I rubbed dirt in Lauren’s face… I’m a little jerk

The second layer done!

Putting down the stove top! 

Placing in the oven

The outside ventilation part

Almost done…


The recipients of our fogon, an elderly couple who were all smiles for our work

Really lovely people… makes it all worthwhile

Wilma with her parents

Lauren and I with our completed fogon!

On to Wilma’s super nice garden… 

Wilma’s carrots!

Wilma gave lots of vegetables as a thank you for building the fogon! What a great end to a great day!

Just another day in Paraguay. I love my life.

Hasta luegomante,


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Yay Brittany and Lauren!! Super job!!

Comment by Mama

peace, googling about the death of Emily Balog another VPC i ended up here! at ur blog… and as i saw the main pic are naranjas and the girl having the mate i just inmediatly loved it, and the best article i read is this, congrats for all the hard work, and many thanxs specially for making these family feel better and happier, small things makes the world for them and for simple ppl as well 🙂

Comment by anaparaguayan


Thank you so much for the post. I am currently a 1 1/2 year in PCV in Panama. Your fogon/horno combination is a perfect solution for a few families in my pueblo. Do you mind sharing a few more specifics with me to help in my research process? What size were your brick? Did you add any other materials to the clay when mixing the bricks? What are the dimensions of the structure, stovetop, and oven? How were the oven and stovetop piece made, and from what?

Feel free to check out my blog, too:

Keep up the awesome work,

Comment by mattmolen

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