DAY 11 – Cook all your meals today with only one burner (or outside over a camp stove, if you have one).

A typical ‘kitchen’ in Kibera is a container of water, a cooking pot, some dishes, and a few utensils. Microwaves, ovens, and coffee pots are nowhere to be found. Instead, with space and budget limitations, most families in Kibera use only a charcoal fueled cooker to prepare their meals. The cooker is placed on the ground outside the home for ventilation and space needs.  Because of the length of time needed to do simple tasks like heat water or cook meals on that single cooker, household duties are timed carefully and often shared with neighbors to reduce the cost of charcoal and the time required to tend the stove. Another cost savings measure is to ensure the charcoals can be used the following day by extinguishing the fire with water before the fire burns all the charcoal.  Test your one-pot cooking skills – light a fire and get cooking!

Challenge Reflection by Richard Waters

Patience is a virtue that is cultivated in Kibera.  Having one burner on which to cook a meal for a large family is just one small way this is done.  Hand-washing clothes, walking several miles to work, saving money over several years to be able to further one’s schooling… all might make those of us accustomed to a quicker pace get fidgety at first.  There is little patient for change, though… self-help groups, entrepreneurial coalitions and other community-based organizations (one of the largest of which is CFK) abound.  Let us appreciate our food, our means of preparing it, and our privileges.

Discussion - Day 11

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  1. Posted August 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    We combined this challenge with day 9, living on less than $2. The entire day was focused around food and the creativity that goes into preparing it in Kibera. So much here to think about…………..

  2. Posted October 3, 2011 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    I have never used a camp stove by myself before, but I decided to try it out today. With no help from anyone, it took me an hour to get the stove assembled. I kept trying to fit the fuel tank inside the stove frame, but finally realized that it fits from outside. I still could not figure out how to get the fuel flowing from one burner to another, and there I was cooking the meal on a camp stove on only one burner. Patience was the key, and I managed to get done only with a much longer time than usual. During the lunch, when we wanted to have more food, the thought of going through the whole process on a single burner was discouraging enough that we decided to manage on whatever was already prepared. For the dessert was the thought – how Kiberians could live with such daily struggles.

  3. Posted March 2, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Since I don’t cook in the house I had to ask my mom if she would be willing to help. She didn’t mind of course. It was quite a difference. It took much longer then it normally does. It was fun because it gave the others in the house a chance to add and remove things about the meal and also help more in the preparations. My mom said it was an interesting idea, but she will stick to here four stovetops.

  4. by Toni
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    This challenge was not very difficult for me as my family only consists of me and my 6 year old son. He is a very picky eater as is, and I work fulltime and go to school part time, so most days we do not use our burners at all as we are not home. But I do see how this would be very challenging for a larger family. It would also be challenging for a family that depending on the burner as the only source to make or prepare food on a regular basis.

  5. Posted March 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    It is a luxury to be able to have an electric stove with 4 burners. How quickly our choices for meals are limited when you only have one burner to cook the meal. Being an experienced Girl Scout leader this challenge was easier than some people make it out to be. Many healthy meals can be made by cooking foods in stages using one pot. Of course this does require more of our time and special planning to pull these meals off.

  6. Posted March 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Ninth challenge is cook meal with one burner. That was hard to do because I can’t really cook what I need to eat with just one burner. I try cooking with one burner when I was cook spaghetti and that took over two hours just the spaghetti. It takes me about 1 to make spaghetti.

  7. Posted March 11, 2012 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Imagine trying to prepare a meal for a family without the benefit of multiple heat sources. I have enough trouble timing cooking steps with four burners available to me. How does a person make a multiple-step meal and keep it all hot? Are one pan meals such as stews or stir-fry dishes favored? Do Kiberans in larger families end up eating in shifts as one pot of dinner at a time is prepared? Much preparation and planning are surely required for any complicated meals: one more thing at which Kiberans have to become skilled.

  8. Posted April 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    When you are forced to narrow a meal down to one burner, the options what you can cook becomes limited.I decided to cook Macaroni and Cheese for this challenge. I decided to keep the meal simple because of many factors. What you can cook with one burner and how long it takes. Deciding on what to make was the hardest part of the challenge. It makes you think about what you are able to cook and what you want to cook. This challenge was easy after figuring out what options that I had.