As we begin this New Year, we want to thank each of you for your generous support for The Cookstove Project this past year. It is inspiring and moving to all of us working on this effort to realize how far we have come and how many families we have been able to provide with clean cookstoves. We hope that, as a member of our team, you share that sense of accomplishment.
Last November, I traveled with Mark Johnson, one of our board members, to visit the villages in Uganda where The Cookstove Project is currently working. It was an incredible experience to visit the women and their families in the Mukono and Nakasongola districts where, thanks to your support, over 2500 clean cookstoves have been built.
We had a special chance to meet many of the beautiful children of the families in these villages. They loved to have their photos taken and to run and follow us with their curious eyes, waving as we went from home to home.
Our cookstove training was held on the grounds of a local school where we also constructed a clean cookstove for the headmistress. Some of the schoolchildren were excited to help and participated in mixing the clay and other tasks.
We had the opportunity to meet with some of our cookstove supervisors and visit the homes where clean cookstoves were constructed. It was wonderful to talk to the women about how the cookstoves were working for them.
This is a typical kitchen in rural Uganda. The walls are made of sticks and packed clay, the roof is thatched straw and the floors are dirt. Mothers and their young children spend an average of 4-7 hours a day here preparing meals for the family.
As you can see from the photos, the villages in these areas are quite beautiful, although life there is very simple and the daily tasks of going distances for water and firewood and growing food to eat can be very time consuming. The hearts of these families are also very beautiful and we are very grateful for the time we spent there with them.
We had the opportunity to meet with our hard working staff members, visit our office in Mukono, participate in cookstove trainings and productions, and most of all, meet the women and their families who are using the clean cookstoves. It was especially gratifying to see how happy the women are with their new cookstoves and hear them express the significant positive changes they experience from using them. It was also very educational for us to learn more about the building process of the cookstoves by getting our hands in the clay to help out!
Africano, our Cookstove Project director in Uganda, conducted a clean cookstove training workshop which we attended. Here he is explaining the information of why clean cookstoves are so important and later we participated in the practical training component of constructing a clean cookstove with the other participants.
Trip to Uganda - January 2016