HAITI--Testing the Parvati Solar Cooker from India

by joan conover
(Smithfield, VA)

Just a quick update on solar cooking efforts. And thank you very much for all the support from various contributors to this site! From India, we received a pattern for the Paravti Solar Cooker --a full sized pattern. This was used to build a test cooker, and taken to Haiti by Donna Lange on her boat. She sailed from Miami with supplies and test kits for various projects, her landfall was the southern coast of Haiti, Isl A Vache. A long trip for a solo sailor on a smaller boat, and without using an engine! She tested the cooker, sending photos back. One thing we discovered--there are lots of failed Solar Cooker projects in the one location(all nice and pretty and stacked in a warehouse). All kinds--and they "dont work very well!" What is missing is the training and listening to the women/chefs who use local recipes. It takes time to introduce new concepts --when the population has used one method their entire life. The following is the email log between us and Ravindra Pardeshi, who has been providing guidance for us--all the way from India.

From Ravindra,
"Solar drying is a good idea for introduction. I have a design of a simple solar dryer for farm products. I shall just make the drawings and send to you.

As for the needy women you can go ahead. As I told you before we are finishing the work of foldable Parvati solar cooker. I shall send you one as soon it is ready.
Visit our website about Parvati Solar cooker design and construction.



Regards,Ravindra Pardeshi.
Flat no 13, Buldg. no 'D'.Aranyeshawar Park, Sahakar Nagar, Parvati,
Pune, Maharashtra, India Pincode: 411009.Phone no. 09404612862.

From Joan to Ravindra, July 22, 2011

Subject: Re: OW solar oven project haiti
Ravindra, many thanks for your support! Donna Lange (OceanWatch) is very determined. In the past weeks she sailed from USA to Haiti in a very small 27 ft sailboat, solo. She also appreciates solar but is not expert in use of the cooker. After experiencing the local use of the cooker, she has a better idea of the deployment issues. We will work together at both islands in Haiti to
introduce solar cooking-and make kits. One interesting idea she commented on, "they LOVE to dry fruit but are only drying ONE TYPE." She introduced the idea of drying others,such as bananas. This was warmly accepted. We are going to suggest a focus on drying, then expand as we determine/locate the interested women. On the second island,they are very very needy and open to using solar. For this group, its solar cooking or NO COOKING. The concept was introduced this spring during the spring delivery of aid by Sailors Without Borders on Sv Tranquility (photos are on the site). We hope the cooker you shared will offer a more professional approach than the one we utilized. BUT its a start!
Again, thank you and we will send more information.
Once we determine dishes and recipes that work for Haiti..it will be much more accepted. Right now..its a "neat" interesting idea..but must be proselytized.
Joan, Sailors Without Borders/Oceanswatch(OW)


Greetings Again Joan,

I am glad to hear of the help offered from other solar cooking experts and for the progress, albeit measured and somewhat slow.
Yes, it does take a bit of work to help people change lifelong customary habits of doing things a certain way and to accept another, even if it is a good thing like solar cooking.

Keep up the great work and please do keep us informed. We find it very interesting and satisfying at the same time, to know of your group's very kind and charitable work.


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Jul 29, 2011
Back from Haiti
by: Donna Lange, Executive Direcdtor OceansWatch North America

Now back from Haiti, I am very excited to go on to the next stage of developing a sustainable solution on these islands in Haiti. The box cookers will be a much better solution I think as they get much hotter and are 'different' in concept. We are not trying to 'replace their' hot fire cooker. We are introducing 'baking'. They were excited to work out new recipes. The solar dryers will be very helpful to bring the level of success they need to have to be motivated to go forward with this 'new type' of cooking. I willlook forward to seeing your new box cooker design and dryers. Thanks a million Joan for posting on the blog. I am still a bit weary from the voyage. It is an amazing challenge to sail solo. This trip was done on purpose to pilot these projects in Haiti. Yet, the success of these pilot programs is vital to so many in all the islands that are challenged by complete loss of all infrastructure often with hurricanes and disasters. It is an incredible solution. Thank you all for your investment in research and development.
Donna Lange
Exec Dir Oceanswatch
SV_Inspired Insanity
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