Sunday, September 19, 2010

Solar Cooking in Haiti

My first trip to Haiti was an eyeopener... What a rotten hand this country has been dealt!! With a terrain, climate & infrastructure much like that of African countries, there are not enough resources with which to deal with the aftermath of the terrible earthquake that happened almost a year ago, in January of 2010... rubble & destruction still litter the landscape of the capitol city, & while people work hard to restore their home, there are very few options in regards to removing the debris.

I traveled to Haiti on behalf of Solar Cookers International (SCI) to evaluate the solar cooking trainers at the Free Methodist Church (FMC) in Port au Prince, & check out some of the schools where the FMC plann to incorporate solar cooking into the 5th grade curriculum.

The trainers use SunOvens when not possible, which are supplied by Paul Munsen who owns the Illinois-based SunOven corporation & is very active in Haiti. The SunOvens are some of the fastest-cooking & well-built solar cookers available.

A glimpse of one of the busier streets in Port au Prince, seen from the FMC training center.

The buildings right next door to the FMC Mission compound evidenced only a small degree of the devastation experienced in January.

The main supermarket in town was one of the first buildings to go, leaving many without access to food & supplies.

Sights like these are everywhere you look.

Tent cities erected to house those who lost their homes in the earthquake... by July of this year, nearly 1.5 million people were living in tents.

Government agencies like USAID & the Red Cross supplied many tent cities.

A tap tap ~ the Haitian 'taxi', is the principal mode of transportation in populated areas.

Street vendors in Port au Prince.

The luckier schools had wells to provide children & staff with clean drinking water.

Schools sponsored by FMC are usually attached to the churches.

Where funding is available, the churches are rebuilding classrooms.

An interesting architectural design ~ many buildings in Haiti make use of the flat rooves, & build in staggered levels to ensure this model ~ perfect for solar cooking !

A typical classroom.

Classes are frequently held outside, under trees, in the absence of adequate shelter.

Children are lucky to have class under tents supplied by the government & aid agencies.

Cute kids, can hardly WAIT for school to start ; )

Fruit @ the market.

Old school shacks, made out of cardboard & corrugated tin, are common living arrangements.

Gardy, head solar cooking trainer @ FMC, starts off the training program in a classroom at the Mission. The trainees are teachers at FMC schools across the country.

Gardy showing the students how solar cookers work with local food.

Louinette does amazing things with local food in the solar cookers every day.

Cookers set to cooking in the sun during training.

The FMC Mission compound, where guests stay.

Trainer #2, Esnaider, showing the trainees how to construct a CooKit with local materials.

Gluing foil on the cardboard cutouts.

The trainees enjoying the fruits of their efforts : )

Trainers & trainees with the CooKits they made during training.

Trainers extraordinaire: Gardy & Barthelemy.

Giving the class another perspective on solar cooking.

Handing out certificates to the trainees at the end of training.

The hard working trainees with their certificates.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Headed for Haiti

Contracting for Solar Cookers International (SCI), I head to Haiti today to evaluate and certify solar cooking teacher-trainers working for the Free Methodist Church & International ChildCare Ministries (ICCM). Post-training, I will travel with ICCM representatives to various primary schools in the areas surrounding Port-au-Prince to assess opportunities to incorporate solar cooking into the science curricula throughout Haiti's school system. Look for stories and photos soon!