Carly Demanett reporting
As I got ready for the day this morning, I went through my customary mental to-do list: “Get up…go running…drive to work…go to the post office…buy groceries…make dinner...” My mind was filled with thoughts like, “Should I try a new dinner recipe from one of those magazines I just bought, or go with an old-standby?” Then I got to work.
When I walked into InStove’s office for my internship and began research for a project, suddenly, my worries about dinner seemed very small. I read about women in Ugandan refugee camps living in tents because they fled violence in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many of these women’s husbands stayed behind, leaving these women as the sole providers for their families. Even in camps, these women are not guaranteed safety. During the day, they must venture out to search for firewood, either bringing their children with them, or leaving them alone. Depending on the environment surrounding the camp, this can be a time-consuming process, and an extremely hazardous one. Whenever they go out, they risk being attacked, kidnapped, or even killed.
For these women, making dinner is not the pleasant, comfortable experience that it is for me. While I am worrying about recipes and the price of ground beef, these women are living in fear for their safety and that of their children.
At this point, my worries seemed small and petty, and I was thankful that my internship provides me with reality checks like this one. I have the privilege of being able to drive to a grocery store and pick up whatever I need to make dinner for my family. Then, I can drive back to my safe, comfortable house and cook for them on a stove that doesn’t require me to make a dangerous trek through conflict zones and deforested areas in search of fuel.
I left work today with a new perspective, feeling very thankful for my few “worries.”
InStove is currently working to place our cookstoves in refugee camps throughout Africa. These stoves use up to 90% less wood, allowing women and children to spend less time searching for fuel and more time pursuing other educational and economic opportunities.