November 13, 2011

Spreading the good news

In September, Mugo and a teacher colleague taught Conservation of Fuelwood to their Standard 6 classes. Information on the topic, illustrated by pictures, was found in the pupils´ textbooks. However, there was no word about solar cookers.  When Mugo mentioned to his fellow teachers that he had all sorts of energy-saving cooking devices at home, they requested him to bring them along.

exhibition in the staffroom
He was asked to give a demonstration for the whole school. Bananas were cooked in the solar box cooker and eggs in the Cookit. The pupils brought pre-soaked maize and beans from home. In the morning it was cooked for 45 minutes on the fuel-efficient jiko and then transferred to the basket cooker. In the afternoon an excited crowd of pupils sampled the delicious food that was distributed by the teachers.

Cookit and basket cooker

The "githeri" is very tasty.

After the practical demonstrations, a lady teacher gave further explanations on how solar cookers and heat-retention cookers function.

The pupils were impressed with what they had seen and heard - and so were the teachers. They vowed to change their kitchens at home and asked Mugo to give advice and assistance. One lady teacher confessed that she had been keeping an improved portable jiko in a corner of her kitchen for the last 17 years without using it! She went home, threw away the stones of her open fire and started using the jiko. The following day she shared her experiences with her colleagues in the staff room.
And the children are wonderful agents of communication as well. They have told their parents at home about their experiences and the news have spread in the village like bushfire. Mugo is often being stopped on the road and asked to confirm the children´s stories.

The school has planted trees that are cut down for firewood to be used in the school kitchen. Part of the firewood, however, is sold as an important source of income for the school.
The young trees are cut into pieces of 1.5 metres and then stacked up to dry in the sun. The wood between two poles weighs about 2 tons.

2 x 2 tons firewood  (school kitchen at top left)

The wood in the picture below has 25 portions and thus weighs about 50 tons. 

the school´s firewood supply
The teachers did an estimation:

If the firewood would be distributed among the parents of the school´s pupils, it would last only two weeks. - And this is an example of just one small village.

This calculation should convince anybody of the importance of saving fuel and planting trees.