Presenting the Kusamala rocket stove! This is the same stove that Benjamin designed and built during our Kusamala internship last year. By all reports the stove is working well and most importantly it hasn’t developed any life threatening cracks since it’s unfortunate rebuild in late December 2012.
The Memo Kitchen staff, who are responsible for cooking lunch each workday on the farm say they love it. They’ve also requested to have Benjamin come back and teach another class on a smaller version of the stove. The interns are equally happy, because it’s so efficient at holding heat that they can grill veggies on it at dinner time. Lucky ducks!
The old Memo Kitchen shows a typical cooking arrangement with three stones or bricks to elevate a pot over the fire.
So, I figure you might be wondering why all the fuss about these rocket stoves. First off they are such a basic innovation. The only building materials needed are clay, sand and straw making them attainable to anyone since they are free to construct. The stoves also significantly reduce the amount of wood needed for cooking, and considering wood is either gathered by hand or purchased this is a huge benefit.
Gathering wood can be a dangerous task for women who are forced to gather from private land.
The design of the stoves also allows for more complete combustion which reduces the smoke output and sends heat more directly to the pot translating into needing less wood, but also faster heating.
The new Kusamala Memo Kitchen stove was constructed out of clay from a termite mound, a few bundles of reeds, grass for the cob and a spare sheet of metal. That’s it, that’s all. Benjamin also made an elevated platform out of stones for these stoves to make them easier to maneuver the large pots.