We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

What's Cookin' at School in Magozi

A lot of sun, a lot of bricks, a lot of hard work and two large fuel-efficient institutional stoves built! We had some long, hot days this week while living in Kimande, but working at the secondary school in Magozi.

We were at William Lukuvi Secondary School with our expert EI builder, James, along with new employee, Dan and of course Ezekiel and Mendriad! The school, which has 252 pupils (many of whom are boarders) currently cooks three times a day on huge three stone fires. They cook uji (runny porridge) for breakfast, ugali and beans for lunch and again for dinner. You can imagine the amount of firewood they get through. Every student makes two hot and tiring 2-hour trips to get firewood every week. So the problems are huge for the environment there in Magozi, with wide deforestation. Secondly, the students could far better use their time and energy for studies. And as for the amount of smoke in the food shelter - there are serious health issues there!

The three-stone fire and pots for ugali and beans
So we went to build two large fuel-efficient stoves. One for cooking the ugali and the other for the beans. These stoves reduce the amount of firewood by 75-80% and produce very little smoke. So the wood that the students have been collecting for one week will now last 4-5 weeks!  The school had built the foundation and then provided the bricks and lots of student labour! Aldermaston CE Primary School and Brownies donated towards the cost and James and team did the rest. It was a fantastic joint effort, although an exhausting three days! We were so thrilled to finish the job! It was great working alongside the school, which is very happy with the finished result! They will be able to use the stoves after three weeks, but first they would like to build a new "kitchen" shelter over the stoves.

Second stove in progress

Tim explains the new stoves to a group of students
Work comes to an end!

Kate, the girls and I stayed back in Kimande on Tuesday. The water is still a real problem there. The water levels of the river are very low (and there are still three or so months left before the rains). The old system tap had not been working for five days and the new system is often slowing to a trickle with people tapping into it themselves. We found a tap working and collected water, but we are using sparingly! We took drinking water with us from town, but underestimated amounts with the extremely hot sun and the fact that we were all constantly in it. We ended up buying bottled water at a little shop - but that is a luxury others cannot afford.

We were able to be with the stoves group first thing in the morning, and then enjoyed a visit from Ben Ray, a friend in town (Neema Crafts), along with his parents and another guest to see what's happening in Kimande! We had a small English class in the afternoon - getting down to details like eyelashes and tummy buttons and ending up with translations for "sisters of the breast" as opposed to cousins, like Kate and me! In the evening Tim, Dan and I went to Itunundu for the second group Bible study, continuing on with the book of Titus.

We were all in Magozi again on Wednesday, which was by the far the hottest, longest day! We packed up the house in Kimande and were off to Magozi for 8am. But it was a long job. We were getting pretty worried about finishing before running out of water or before we had to leave in order to get home by dark. We had hoped to leave around 3pm, but it was 5:30pm when we finally headed out. We were very relieved to be home as the last light faded at 7pm. Poor Kate was feeling the effects of the hot sun or maybe the fish we were given for lunch ... or both. So she and two very tired little girls were soon in bed!

The finished stoves with our team and some of the students


  1. we saw in Uganda school how the cooking goes, a lot of work, even more smoke, and a lot of mushy food. Well done and blessings for showing the new improved way. xx


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