My family and I have been ministering in four of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere since 2008. These countries include El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Haiti.
Since 2011 my wife, daughter, grandson, granddaughter and myself have been doing most of our ministry in Nicaragua through Project Hope, www.pjhop.org , based in Springfield, MO. We have helped build houses, built relationships, told about the love God has for all of us, done medical ministries, women's ministries, as well as other ministries.
In each of these countries, I have witnessed people cooking over open fires, mostly indoors, and have wondered how they survive. As it turns out, they are not surviving, according to the World Health Organization, over 4 million people died in 2012 from indoor air pollution, mostly from smoke inhalation from cooking fires.
These people live in some of the sunniest areas in the world, so why are they not doing their cooking using the power of the sun? I have been studying this dilemma for years and here are my conclusions:
1. They moved their cooking fires indoors to get out of the hot sun, why would they move back out into the hot sun to use your fancy solar cooker?
2. Most of the solar cookers available at this time are solar slow cookers or solar bakers, in my ministry in these countries, I have seen zero slow cooking and very little baking. The cooking methods they have been using for generations has the source of heat below the cooking vessel.
3. People, no matter their position or status in life, do not like change. Even change for the better is difficult to accept.
4. So, why not provide a solution that will minimize the change necessary and maximize the benefits, especially the short term benefits.
For the last few years I have been working on developing a solar cooker that would provide shade for the cook, a source of heat beneath the cooking vessel and an initial investment and lifetime maintenance investment of under one cent ($0.01) per day per person served. Plus a serviceable life of 10 to 20 years or longer. Another goal is for the cooker to be buildable in virtually any country using available materials, available tools and learnable skills.
I call this cooker the Shady Spot Solar Cooker and I am currently in the process of building a website at www.shadyspotsolarcooker.com . Among other features, the site will have plans and a parts list that can be digitally downloaded or printed for no charge.
The benefits, both short term and long term, would include:
1. reduce their exposure to fossil fuel smoke.
2. reduce their use of fossil fuels to cook food.
3. Extend life expectancy by 5 to 15 years.
4. Lower healthcare costs due to less chronic respiratory and vision issues
5. More productive lives, including economically, because of less chronic health issues and less time spent gathering cooking fuel
6. Higher personal safety resulting from less trips made outside of the relative safety of the village to gather cooking fuel
7. Higher literacy rates because children can go to school instead of gathering cooking fuel
8. Better air to breathe (for all of us) because of less carbon emissions.
Review from #MyGivingStory