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!
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.