We burn a lot of wood at Eden Children’s Village. People cook over an open fire outside in the kitchen huts, or just in the open. They burn three long logs that they just keep pushing towards the centre to boil enough water to cook their traditional meal of sadza, a cornmeal porridge. When they are finished cooking they pull the logs away from the centre until they need to cook again, then push them together again.
Every day you will see women walking with bundles of branches balanced on their heads. Their lives are an ongoing task of finding firewood. Eden buys firewood from local people who have licenses to cut down trees as well. It always bothers me to see how much firewood we go through and I’ve been working on finding an alternative source of fuel or method of cooking. I have been experimenting with two different types of stove, a top lit up-draft (TLUD) stove and a rocket stove. I believe the rocket stove will be ideal at Eden. I made a prototype at our house using regular clay bricks, clay mud and some scrap metal, readily available materials. I had a fire in it one day and made a large pot of rice in half an hour and only burned small dead branches I picked up in the bush around the compound. We have just built new kitchen blocks at one of the workers’ compounds and these stoves will be perfect to make for them. This will reduce the deforestation in the area and the cost in buying firewood for Eden. The TLUD stove is a portable stove made out of metal which I will be able to teach others to make and sell in the markets. I believe that we can be innovative in such a way that we have a positive impact on the environment and help people generate extra income at the same time.