2nd August 2013
Baz, Katarina and Sasha from Echo 3 have taken some time out of their busy rocket stove-building schedule to tell you about their experience so far...
We started our journey to the village of Mkange in Saadani National Park with a bumpy ride along one of Tanzania’s most challenging roads. Sixteen of us and a whole lot of kit squeezed into a small bus.
We finally arrived at what is to be our home for the next nineteen days. The local people gathered around to witness ‘the mzungos’ (the Swahili word for foreigners) unloading piles and piles of kit onto the area next to their school. We erected the tents, a difficult task in the hot sun, and then quickly dug the long drop toilet and set up the ‘shower’ so we could spend the rest of the day enjoying ourselves.
The local children are excited to see the new comers
“It's so humbling to meet the children here - they have very little, but never fail to have a beaming white smile on their faces” - Baz
We are here to build rocket stoves for the local community. Currently they use the ‘3 stones method’ to cook, which is an open fire that uses a lot of wood. Not only are they inefficient but also expensive and bad for their health and the environment. Rocket stoves are cheaper to run, more efficient and a more healthier way (due to less smoke inhalation) for local people to cook.
Cow dung is an important ingredient when building rocket stoves. On the first day, we arranged for a blessing to take place, to reassure the farmers that we weren't cursing their cows by using this vital natural resource.
The venturers meet with the village elders to present the project.
Anthony helps build the first stove in Mkange.
The team finish the stove.
“We have built three rocket stoves so far and are aiming for four per day, so around 47 in total. We are a bit behind schedule due to 'Tanzanian time' , which means people often arrive late!” - Tom
Over the coming weeks, we also hope to work with the local school to help educate the children about sanitation using a ‘tippy tap’. This is a simple method easily used to improve hand hygiene.
Our first visit to the local school was primarily an introduction to the children, to tell them who we are and what we plan to do while here. We played a fun game of ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ to help them with their English, followed by a talk about rocket stoves.
We aim to build as many stoves as we can in the short period of time that we have, and we must also teach as many local people as possible how to build them and what they are all about, so that the project is sustainable. This is why spending time at the school and in the community is so important.
The ventures explain the rocket stoves to the local school children.
The Ventures teach a song to help the students to impove their English.
It’s been a challenge so far but we are loving every minute. By pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone we are learning so much more everyday, not only about the community around us and the environment we are living in, but also about ourselves.
We are looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead of us in the next few weeks.
Gabriel, a village elder, welcomes us into his home.
Baz meets another new comer to the village.
Thank you to Baz Le Seeleur, Katarina Pisani, Sasha Stannah and Tom Best for putting together this blog. Find out how the other Echo teams are getting on in the next blog.