Solar Oven Project to Help Haiti
by Rachel Skytta, Reporter
September 07, 2013 6:04 PM
A Haiti mission project with a fourteen year history in South and North Dakota is making a difference in the lives of people more than two thousand miles away.
The Haiti Solar Oven Partners Project works to teach the people of Haiti how to build, operate, and cook with a solar oven.
Hatians invest a small portion of their income into the oven. A project volunteer said the project continues to receive positive feedback.
The ovens are constructed in a South Dakota workshop, then they're either shipped or delivered to families in Haiti. The people of Haiti rely primarily on burning charcoal to cook their food. However, this can lead to lung damage and may contaminate drinking water. That's why project director Rick Jost says the solar oven is a cost effective, and safe alternative to charcoal.
"It's estimated, as of now, that they spend twenty five percent of their meager income on charcoal," said Jost.
"When they take those ovens home...the smiles on their faces. Some of them walk miles to come to these seminars," said Connie Smith, a project volunteer.
The oven works like a slow cooker, getting up to a maximum of 325 degrees farenheit. It takes two to three hours too cook most food. The only downside is, what happens when it gets cloudy.
"Sunshine is so abundant in Haiti," said Jost.
Jost is right. The sun shines nearly seventy five percent of the time in Haiti. Making it an ideal place to utilize the solar oven. However, those receiving the ovens are gaining more than just a hot meal.
"They know someone else cares about what's happening to them and wants to make a difference for them," said Smith.
That seems to be the message behind the project. To simply help make a difference.