Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mud Stoves

3 November – Romongo 9:28pm

We got to play with poo today! ;) Well, we were building a mud stove; while I managed to avoid touching the dung directly, it turns out that a good mud stove is made by mixing 4 parts dirt, 1 part dried crumbled dung, and 1 part straw. Put in a pile, add water, and dance vigorously on it to mix, then let it sit covered for a few days. We'll be coming back on Monday to remix with a little more water, then we'll pile it up around three rocks that hold up the marmite (the big round pot used for cooking everything here) so that the flames are contained under the bottom of the pot instead of flaring up around the sides. The point of a mud stove is that it's not only safer than bending over a pot with flames shooting up around it, but it's also more efficient. It does need to be protected from the rain (I wonder if you could coat it with something waterproof that wouldn't release harmful chemicals when heated?) and tends to last about 7-8 months before you have to make a new one. Not bad for something that's essentially free to make – everyone has dirt, dung, and straw doesn't seem too hard to come by for a farmer in village. I was actually kind of looking forward to dancing in the mud, but I scraped my toe on a rock today and didn't think the healing process would be helped by forcing dirt into it, so I stuck to smashing the rocks in the dust/dirt/rock pile.

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