Flip and John Anderson, January, 2012
From the Field:
"Sorry but it looks like the report below didn't get sent out Sunday evening like we thought. We are just back from TiBwa and were excited to find someone who had prepared a spot for making a Rocket Kitchen with an oven. Also Remie made some stoves even prettier than his last ones.
There have been 3 or 4 people who have noticeably stepped forward to help their neighbors build stoves. These generous leaders are now teaching their neighbors how to make stoves to keep up with the demand. It's getting a bit crazy at times with everyone wanting a stove so we've come up with a new response, "If you are interested in getting a stove you must first watch (and assist) someone making a stove, then gather the materials and with the supervision of an experienced stove builder make one for yourself, then go and teach another person how to make a stove." If villagers help each other build stoves, there is a chance that every household could have a stove. Someone suggested we call this form of disseminating stoves a combit, a Recho TiBwa combit....
We've changed the name of the stove (Recho Roket) to Recho TiBwa. Roket was not a word in the Creole language so people had trouble remembering it. TiBwa means little wood or little tree. The village of TiBwa is where this improved way of cooking has taken hold in an amazing way. Changing the name is a way to honor the people in the village of TiBwa for their whole-hearted adaptation of this technology. One of the things the people tell others as they describe the stove is, "With just a little wood (ti bwa) I cook my food." And they're also using little sticks of wood (ti bwa) to cook with. And the fun thing is the Rocket Stove song in Creole still works by changing Roket to TiBwa...
We have updated the Picasa photo album with more pictures and captions telling some of the stories of the past week. https://picasaweb.google.com/ogilvia/HaitiMercyCorps2012#slideshow/5700982322737252386
In the YouTube video on the Recho TiBwa we just sent out one of the happy stove users says that these stoves are something that they never considered as something they would ever have in their village. His kitchen is in an enclosed building and it is hard for us to comprehend the misery experienced by the cooks in rooms like these from the smoke from the three rock fires they have been using to cook their food their entire lives. The stoves may not make the Haitian friends we are making any richer but judging from the frantic flurry of stove building going on in TiBwa it seems like we are seeing evidence that they have expectation their lives here on earth can begin to change for the better. That seems like a big hope after less than two weeks of exposure to the stoves but we hope it is true and that it will translate into people beginning to believe there can be a change in how they care for their land as well.
Keep us and the people of TiBwa and Sibase in your thoughts and prayers. We hope to get an oven started this week and to get someone to help us get stove lessons developed so that people can be well trained to keep the stove building going and spreading after we leave.
Jon and Flip