As part of the Niño a Niño (Child to Child) program of preventative health and sustainable community building, we are conducting a project we call “Eco-techniques”, in partnership with the University Rotary Club of Seattle. This project works to improve health and environment by introducing three ecologically sound intermediate technologies: a simple solar cooker, a woodsaving adobe stove (since the sun doesn’t shine all the time), and a composting latrine. I am in the process of conducting solar workshops in eight different areas, which will benefit 18 villages. Many of these communities are scattered through remote mountainous regions of Mexico where firewood is becoming more scarce and hard to get.
In each workshop children participate along with their mothers, and in some communities fathers are starting to participate too. Starting out with the CooKit, because it’s the simplest and cheapest type of solar cooker, we explain the why’s and how’s of solar cooking, demonstrate the cooking of various sample foods and the purification of water with a WAPI, then help each family to construct their own cooker. Two to three weeks after a workshop, I do follow-up visits to see how the women are doing and help with any problems.
This group of women has been so successful with their cookers, they reported that their husbands are now calling them “the wonder group” and their folding cardboard cookers “the wonder stoves”. Several have been taking them out to the fields when the family goes out to work, so that they can have some cooked food when they take a break. According to the women, the men think this is great and some of them are learning to use the cookers too, which is a real departure from tradition in a culture where men never cook.
- See Kathy Dahl-Bredine.