In Congo, the most used cooking method is charcoal fire, and at a significant cost. A cost to consumers, but also a cost to nature, where trees are being decimated by the production of charcoal. At the orphanage, the staff spend around $200 per month on charcoal. It is important to find a better solution, not only for budgetary purposes, but also for health reasons. The cost to cook with Charcoal works out to around $2.00 per hour.
When a container was shipped from Nanaimo in June, it included a generator and two stove-top cooking plates. Sofia, the lady who does most of the cooking for the children, has experimented with the generator and the new cooking plates. Although it provided much faster and cleaner cooking compared to the traditional charcoal fire, the cost of gasoline for the generator is prohibitive – $2.75 per hour.
A diesel generator will provide better efficiency at $1.50 per hour. We are trying to find a unit in Bujumbura (just across the border), so that service is available. Unfortunately the current instability in Burundi makes traveling there risky. Another possible solutions that we are researching is a diesel burning cooker, which could operate at around $0.45/hour. Finding the right unit is still a challenge.