August 24, 2016
Last week we took a step of faith to attempt a solar oven demonstration without the oversight and participation of a Solar Oven Partners Volunteer team from the US. We put together a rather unique team with four Dominicans and four ‘others’. The others were Ardell, Gordy, our son Samuel and our daughter Hannah. The 4 Dominicans were Rev. Maria Bock, Rev. Erasme, our driver Mario, and Alexis, son of a Dominican pastor. Three first timers and 5 of us still in the training wheels category.
Our driver Mario took us safely to the north side of the island to a small town called Sabaneta de Yasica. Upon arrival we unloaded our equipment and assembled 10 solar ovens which took us until after dark. We stayed overnight in missionary housing made ready for us by the local Dominican Evangelical Church.
The next day we began preparing food with the local ladies who came to learn. We put out 16 ovens in a neighbor’s yard to ‘preheat’. The sun was fully available and August hot making for excellent solar cooking. A good crowd of learners showed up to help cut up vegetables, mix cake and bread batter, cut up chickens, and prepare pots of rice and beans.
And finally while the food was cooking, Maria, Erasme and Gordy gave a workshop on solar cooking to the assembled crowd. We talk about this as a blessing, an outreach ministry which we hope all will pass on to others, especially those who have few resources to spend on fuel. We talk about the science of solar cooking, the methods and the need for patience and practice, the origin of this ministry and the large family of Christian brothers and sisters who volunteer time and resources from the US and the Dominican Republic.
The food cooked more rapidly than usual because of the abundant sunshine. There were a couple of solar surprises, we took out the baked potatoes too soon and an egg exploded. But all in all the food was well cooked, delicious, and enjoyed by everyone. We distributed 21 ovens which is pretty good for our first time out as trainees.