One of the comments from a reader, Gaynor, following a previous posting: (Solar Cooker: yes or no) was why don’t you make one of your own? Well always being up for a challenge we decided to do just that and spent last night working on a little science experiment. Instead of our R2500 bought version we managed to make one for just R25 using cardboard, glue and tinfoil. Julian found a brilliant link on the internet “Solar Cookers: How to make use and enjoy” and we followed their instructions and came up with a simple solar cooker of our own. We were fairly skeptical as to whether it would work but before going out for the day we set it up with some dried beans and onions in water (mmmmhhhh, not really gourmet meal but high in protein, cheap and healthy) and went off for the day. It was not a particularly warm day today but it was sunny and there is no wind here. Upon returning home at 5pm the sun had almost set and the beans were cold but they were cooked. So we heated them up, added some salt and cumin and had ourselves a very basic but cheap and replicable meal. So thanks Gaynor, we will be taking our home made solar cooker along to Mamelodi and
hope to make some more meals in it.
One of our big challenges during this preparation phase has been deciding what we can take along when we move to Mamelodi.
The shack we are staying in has no electricity so we need to decide how we will cook during the month. Most people use gas as it is easily accessible and convenient but it a) poses a high fire risk in a very not so fireproof area and b) works out reasonably expensive. We will most likely also use gas but Julian has a solar cooker in the garage that he is keen to take along. The advantages are that once the cooker has been bought there are no further costs: no electricity is needed and the only requirements are a nice sunny day (something we have lots of during Gauteng winters) and a lot of time to prepare the food. As I’ll be home with the kids, we should have time. Solar cookers have been designed with the township or rural market as a target demographic but at a cost of about R2,500 they are way above the budget of an average family (even if the savings in gas consumption mean that it could be paid off over a couple of years). As such taking it along feels like a bit of a cheat. Yet at the same time we want to show people what is possible. If it works well and does result in large savings, it may well be something worth pushing more aggressively in this market, even if that requires government subsidization etc.
What do you think. Is it cheating to take it along or are we showing people what is out there are could be used by themselves?