Small Houses in Sonora

I took Greyhound to Tempe in late December, then friends and I visited south of the Arizona border, the state of Sonora and various people, for several days, including the new year. It was good to see the desert, good to meet new and interesting people. We joined a large family party including a dinner at midnight to greet the new year; it was wonderful and I hope to help with a similar new year’s greeting in 10 months.

I open my eyes more when traveling, attending to details I might ignore at home. In Mexico, I was struck not just by the rickety conditions of many of the houses, but by the size–many of the houses are smaller than my kitchen/dining area.

Image from another area of Mexico
Image from another area of Mexico

Interestingly, Sonora is one of the more affluent areas in Mexico.

Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity
The Spanish language Habitat for Humanity has more information.

The new Habitat houses are 42 – 49 m2 (450 – 525 ft2) in rural areas, 60 m2 (645 sq ft) in cities. The cost to the family is $74/month for 7 years.

From Lighting the Way, from the InterAcademy Council:

Meeting the basic energy needs of the poorest people on this planet is a moral and social imperative that can and must be pursued in concert with sustainability objectives.…Place priority on achieving much greater access of the world’s poor to clean, affordable, high-quality fuels and electricity. The challenge of expanding access to modern forms of energy revolves primarily around issues of social equity and distribution—the fundamental problem is not one of inadequate global resources, unacceptable environmental damage, or unavailable technologies. Addressing the basic energy needs of the world’s poor is clearly central to the larger goal of sustainable development and must be a top priority for the international community if some dent is to be made in reducing current inequities.

Solar panels and dust
Solar Mexico
Solar Mexico subsidizes photovoltaic panels in Mexico, but some Mexicans in rural areas are buying PVs themselves.

These are needed to pump water and are a more reliable source of electricity than the city utility. Yet dust can reduce the effectiveness, as this NASA picture shows of the Mars Rover:
dusty panels
Rover’s dusty panels improve when the wind blows them clean. In parts of Mexico, the wind makes PVs dustier, and users might benefit from placing PV’s where they can be cleaned.

One Response to “Small Houses in Sonora”

  1. Bracha Judah says:

    I loved this article. I’ve gotta read it again! I just came back from spending a whole month in Mexico for a study abroad program and I’m trying to go back, but this time under the Peace Corps. Thank you for posting this.