Pedernales: A bustling border town

Monday, October 29, 2018, Gordon Graner writes:

On market days this dusty town on the Haitian border becomes a beehive of activity.  But instead of bees there are hundreds of motorcycles at work moving people and goods to market.

We were working out of a church building on the main route to the market.  We had to dodge the motorcycles as we were constantly crossing the street to set up and use 12 solar ovens.

We had relied on a pastoral couple to gather what was promised to be a large group of people who wanted solar ovens.  However, while those who gathered were enthusiastic, many were adolescent girls and just a handful of women.  With hopes somewhat deflated I asked the pastor what we could do to attract more people.

 

His answer was to go immediately to the radio station and broadcast a message about solar ovens and invite the masses.  So we did.  We drove to the radio station, hopped out of the jeep, and marched directly into the radio booth.  Three men were seated at three microphones doing a live broadcast and were unfazed by our sudden presence in the room.  In less than two minutes I was invited to sit at a microphone to tell our story, live.   We had no appointment, paid no money, and apparently only needed the pastor there to authenticate our mission.

It was so cool.  I could only laugh at what seemed both marvelous and ridiculous at the same time.  When we got back to our solar oven site, I told the crew that I was just on the radio.  What I wanted to say but did not say was that we should prepare ourselves for perhaps a hundred women for tomorrow’s demonstration.   Inside my soul I was excited about the possibilities.

Next day the same group of women showed up, perhaps one or two more.  This was far short of the 100 women I had envisioned.  But we went ahead with the demonstration taking full advantage of the clear skies and hot sun.  Oven temperatures went as high as 335 degrees F.

 

Then about 11 am an apparent VIP appeared with his entourage.

He is famous in these parts as a journalist who has put Pedernales on the map.  He was very friendly to us and recorded the entire solar oven cooking scene for about 20 minutes.  Why did he show up all of a sudden?  Could it be he was listening to the radio the day before?  Stay tuned.

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