Last updated: 10 March 2015
Wendell and Sammie Rickon of Mendocino, California (USA) have experimented with a number of solar cookers since being reintroduced to the concept in the summer of 2006. Later that same year they ordered a solar CooKit and some literature from Solar Cookers International (SCI), joined the organization, and learned much more about the usefulness of solar cookers on a global scale.
After many successful solar meals, and a few failures, the Rickons were confident that they could solar cook most of the non-fried foods in their diet. Their thoughts turned to the community of Ciudad Dario, Nicaragua where their son directs Seeds of Learning (SOL), a small nonprofit educational organization. The Rickons asked if he could incorporate a solar cooking component into his work at SOL. He challenged them to write a project proposal, secure funding, and volunteer some of their own time to get a project going.
They met his challenge, and spent much of 2007 gathering training materials from SCI, building solar cookers, and, of course, cooking! In November 2007 the Rickons packed a supply of aluminum foil and transparent oven roasting bags and headed for Nicaragua. Upon arriving in Ciudad Dario, the Rickons promoted solar cookers to anyone who seemed interested, including family members, friends, SOL staff, and Peace Corps volunteers. They conducted a number of small workshops, during which participants learned to make and use solar CooKits and sampled solar dishes such as beans, rice, squash and chocolate chip cookies. In all, the Rickons taught 48 people, including several SOL staff members and two university students that agreed to continue the project with the support and assistance of SOL.