Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Celebrating in Senegal

Stella Strother-Blood Reporting

Cooks enjoy the festive spirit while preparing food.
For the past two weeks, we have enjoyed delicious meals prepared on our 100 Liter Stoves in Touba, Senegal: peppers, onions, spices; yams, goat, tomatoes; rice and cous cous. 

Delicious food prepared by talented cooks who, thanks to the new technology, were able to cook without smoke in their eyes, flames at their feet, or pain in their backs.

Fred Colgan, Executive Director, and I, Stella Strother-Blood, Executive Assistant and Intern Coordinator, traveled to the country of Senegal in Western Africa on December 12th.  Of the one hundred, 100 Liter Stoves that we sent to GIZ and PERACOD (our in-country partners) we set out with seven for the Magal, a celebration in the city of Touba. This is the holy city of Mourdism, a branch of Sufi Islam. 

A 100 Liter Stove inspires curiosity in a group of local students. 
According to one of the cooks we worked with, Bababcar Pomane, Magal is a celebration when, “people come eat and learn Koran. They sing songs and say prayers.” During the Magal, and in the days leading up to it, we tested our stoves in kitchens belonging to religious leaders in the area. 

These leaders are responsible for feeding the million to 2.5 million guests who descend on the city each year for the Magal: crowds of people, piles of firewood, and a mass of cookstoves. Our successful tests yielded fuel savings of, on average, 80.1%! Cooks were in awe of the speed of the InStoves. 

Stella, Fred, and Pomane enjoy the Magal!
Pomane said, “The most important thing is that InStoves are great. You save wood, save money. You can cook without being dirty. You work without bending down – without a pain in your back.” 

Religious leaders and cooks alike saw the potential for our stoves to serve all of the large communal kitchens in the area – especially during celebrations when these limited facilities are overwhelmed by demand.

After this successful project, InStove is in negotiations with multiple agencies to create a public/private partnership in order to bring an InStove manufacturing to Senegal in 2014!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Haitian Senator Warmly Welcomes InStove!

Sen. De La Cruz speaks to schoolchildren in his home district.
Dennis Hartley Reporting 

I returned from Haiti on December 8th, after spending a week as a guest of our friend Senator Francisco De La Cruz, who represents the Central Plateau region. Dr. De La Cruz visited InStove last September to see for himself our advanced technologies and explore ways to bring more of them to Haiti. He is especially interested in our new water pasteurizer, recently tested in Zambia.
In Haiti, we foresee the possibility of serving those who are sick from drinking contaminated water from rivers, streams and even unsafe well-water. One stove with a pasteurizer system can produce about 4,000 liters of safe drinking water a day: sufficient to meet the needs of over a thousand people, fueled by small amounts of biomass.  We envision this as a small, sustainable, business opportunity for many Haitians, especially women.
National press record the senator's vision of autoclaves in the Hinche Hospital.
A highlight of the trip was presenting the stove at the Haitian senate to the national press, and conducting a demonstration. We also presented the autoclave system at the regional hospital in Hinche, the largest and most important health center in the senator’s district
The next steps include a feasibility study for the water pilot project, and forming the coalition necessary to run and monitor the project, all moving toward our ultimate goal of opening a factory.

I am excited to play a part in creating a healthy, sustainable future for Haitians with InStove. It’s really about the children, isn’t it?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The First Domestic Installation

Fred shows the stove's combustion chamber to villagers.
Adam Creighton reporting

For the first time, this week, we placed a stove in a humanitarian setting in the United States: Opportunity Village in Eugene, Oregon.

On December 3rd Fred Colgan, Executive Director, traveled to Eugene to train the homeless residents of the Opportunity Village (or villagers, as they call themselves), a transitional-housing community. Fred introduced them to the stove, gave a little history about its use in refugee centers and schools in the developing world, and then, fired it up to show what it can do.

Kindling is prepared.
“You’re the first Americans to use this stove,” said Fred.

 “Because of that, at first the fire marshal didn’t know what to do with it,” said Dan Bryant, Chair of Opportunity Village. However, after coming down to Cottage Grove to see the stove in action, Deputy Fire Marshall Keith Haggas deemed it safe for use in Opportunity Village’s outdoor kitchen.

The stove was donated by volunteer and InStove supporter Barbara Aldave who heard about Opportunity Village on the radio and then purchased a 60 Liter Stove for them.

During Fred’s demonstration, villagers Rhonda and Diane used the stove chimney to warm their hands by holding the chimney. All exterior parts of our stove remain safe to touch while the stove is in operation; even while the combustion chamber reaches temperatures of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt the pot, if no water is present.

“The villagers are very excited,” said Dan Bryant.

“I’m looking forward to making soup,” said Rhonda. “This is the perfect weather for it!” 

Villagers and volunteers join together for some hot tea from the stove!