Aspiring young chefs are put to the ultimate challenge in Hell’s Kitchen, a reality television competition starring world-renowned chef, Gordon Ramsay. Chef Ramsay demands quality, and the intensity of the challenges is beyond anything the contestants can ever imagine.
But if you think Ramsey’s kitchen is “hell”, you haven’t seen anything yet! What Ramsey and company need is a trip to northern Uganda, or just about any other third world country to see what the average woman goes through every day just to put food on the table…that is if they even have a table! Days begin at the crack of dawn where most women have to walk for miles to carry water for their family. Many of them walk long distances to the forest to gather a pile of sticks which they carry on their heads back to their mud hut. They make a fire to cook on their crude, inefficient stoves which emit enough smoke to choke up a chain smoker!
I have seen way too many of these scenarios on my trips around the world. I have cried several times just thinking about the hell a woman goes through every day just so her family can eat. This time, I was determined to do something about this problem. After a lot of research and comparison shopping on simple stoves for the poor, I came across the remarkable Ugastove.
More than 98 % of Ugandans rely on charcoal or firewood as their fuel source for cooking. But there have been problems from the severe deforestation in Uganda due to coal consumption and the unhealthy amounts of smoke emissions. Health issues are a grave concern, especially for the women and small children who spend so much time in the tiny mud huts inhaling the dangerous fumes.
The Ugastove seemed to be an answer to both problems. It has been tested by organizations in both the United States and Switzerland for fuel consumption and emissions. It passed with flying colors after rigorous tests proved that it used about 50% less charcoal or wood and cut dangerous emissions down to practically nothing because of the highly efficient way it burned the charcoal and/or wood.
Reduced charcoal consumption, subsequent financial savings and health benefits for families using Ugastoves have proven to be substantial. According to tests and reports, an average-sized family using a Ugastove can expect to saving about $80 USD per year. Not bad when the average annual income is about $400!
I was sold! So we purchased 75 Ugastoves directly from the factory in Kampala. They sold them to us at the wholesale price and delivered them to Gulu for free, which is about a six hour drive if the traffic is good, which is next to never. We were thrilled…and so were the families who got the stoves. We gave one to each of the 40 farm families that are part of the Alingi Farmer’s Co-op and 21 additional stoves to Momma Molly and the Jewelry Gals. The additional 14 were given to needy families that we met along our journey.
“All of the ladies absolutely love their new stove, ” Momma Molly said when I spoke to her recently. “This is a far better stove than the ones they have used in the past,” she went on to say. “It uses so little charcoal. Each of the ladies has been going through a 120 lb sack of charcoal every month, but the sack they bought this month is not even half empty. They told me to tell you, ‘Thanks for everything you did for us when you were here. But especially thank you for the new Ugastove that is making our lives so much easier.’”
You can purchase a Ugastove that will go to help a needy woman cook for her family for only $10. If you would like to help us end “Hell’s Kitchen” for the women in northern Uganda, simply send your gift to Bless Africa/Ugastove. Click on the Give tab for more details. For that price, why not get some of your friends together and buy a truckload!