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17353: Henri: Re: 17341: For Haiti: Re: 17339: Minsky: has solar ever been sucessfully used for cooking? (fwd)

From: C. Henri <carolineislands@hotmail.com>

One thing I really enjoy when I'm staying in Haiti is the comraderie in the
outside kitchens.  The jokes women toss back and forth when no men are around,
laughing, helping each other, eating with your friends -- all of it.  Its
amazing how Haitian women can make work so much fun!  I am trying to imagine
everybody involved in meal preparation sitting out in the sun around a solar
cooker -- it's not going to happen.

Its so easy to miss important dynamics like this when we are here trying to
solve "problems" for someone else.  I once knew a very well meaning young woman
who took it on herself to solve the problem of overpopulation in Haiti (don't
snicker).  She went there as a young undergrad, a few stumbling phrases of
Creole in her repertoire and began trying to convince Haitian women not to have
children (or perhaps just one).  It was a disaster, of course.  She was an
atheist and told them so; didn't have any children and told them she didn't
want any -- ever.  And she was trying to tell them not to have children!  Well
you can imagine how well *that* went over!  I see the unsuccessfulness of the
solar cooker the same way.  Anyone who has spent any time under the Caribbean
sun should ask themselves if they would want to stand out there in that heat
cooking meals every day.  Heck, the only people *trying* to be in the sun in
Haiti are tourists working on a tan!  If you live there, you avoid it.

In my opinion, none of us will ever be able to come up with any sollutions to
any problems in Haiti until we can take our little solar cookers or our ideas,
pack 'em up in a backpack and go LIVE there with them for a few years.  If they
work, then BooYa.  But I can tell you without a doubt that I'd probably stand
out in the sun over that solar cooker for about two meals, then I'd be camped
out in the kitchen with all my friends telling jokes and chopping up onions!