Rick Jost and the Solar Oven team from South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, California, and Nova Scotia just left a few days ago. Another great solar oven team! Congratulations you all!
I am always amazed by the solar ovens and how they function. It is truly a wonder and a blessing to be a part of such a significant opportunity for all of us. It is a chance to take a small step to amend the damage to our earthly home. Also the solar oven gives people who have few economic resources a chance to save money spent on fuel for other necessities in their lives.
As we worked together with so many people in Batey 7, Duverge, Mella, and Jaquimeyes, I decided to try and focus on the young girls who love coming to the demonstrations. One young girl in Duverge, Rutie, brought her good friend Abner. Together they became our official taste testers to give us the word when the rice, chicken, beans, vegetables, cornbread, coconut cake, eggs, tayote, and mangu were finished cooking.
I would open the oven, lift out the pot, close the oven, lift the lid, and quickly take a sample from the pot and put the lid back on in case it wasn’t completely cooked. Then I would hand the sample to Rutie and sometimes Abner got a little taste too. Rutie would taste the food, contemplate awhile and then soberly say, “It’s ready.” Or “Just a bit more time.” I began teasing her in a respectful manner by saying, “Wait, what does the expert say.” Each time she seemed to walk taller.
In the village of Jaquimeyes we were in a much more limited space so the girls all crowded around the cooking table to get in on any cooking they could. There were so many young girls, they were three deep and I had to stand way behind the action. I would yell instructions when it came time to put water with the vegetables and rice and to include the girls who hadn’t had a chance to be a part in the preparation of the food to be put in the ovens. The last dish we prepared was a cake. The four girls who hadn’t gotten a chance to prepare anything strictly told me that each one of them would take a turn as we measured the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla, butter and with the beating.
There was nothing compared to seeing their eyes and hearing their comments as they opened an oven, took out the pot, opened the lid and saw rice, beans, eggs, beef, and cake that they had prepared themselves and placed carefully in the ovens, “It’s so HOT!” “Can you believe how hot it is!” “I burned myself!” “There’s no gas or charcoal!” “It’s done.” “Can it be cooked!?”, “Glory to God!”