The Stoves


I know it might be hard to tell what is in this picture. But if you look closely, you will see something that truly amazes me.

(and no, its not the face of this woman that shows signs of a life lived in a place that we call both beautiful & “behind”…though her face is beautiful & amazing to me.)

It is what she is standing in front of. A stove.


A stove made entirely from:
1) mud from a termite mound, mixed with grasses
2) the stalk of a banana tree
3) a few hours of hard, back-breaking work


Here’s how it goes:

  • Prepare the mud (by mixing in the grasses & some water)
  • Cut a few foot-long sections of a banana stalk
  • Throw down the mud by giant handfuls as hard as you can (to get the air pockets out)
  • Smooth out the surface
  • Let it dry for a few days
  • Cut out the banana stalk you used as a form to make air holes to take the smoke outside the hut.
  • Prepare food in a way that doesn’t cause smoke inhalation, or burns (because you are no longer cooking over an open fire where your children (or you) might fall into it & get burned) and is more energy-efficient.

I was amazed at the simplicity of these stoves. They are made quickly, and women are going around to their friends & other villages teaching each other how to make this. It’s revolutionizing the way that cooking is done. And it really is amazing.

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