Day 9: Surprise! A Stove!

Hey everyone! This is Sai! Before I get into our wonderful adventurous day, I want to talk about the trip Shilpen and I took to Kalol for stove materials. We listed all the materials that we needed for our stove build that we were planning to do on Wednesday. Then Viral took this list and asked a civil engineer in the factory where we could acquire them. The inquiry had found that Kalol should have all of the materials so Shilpen, Viral, and I decided to trek upon this journey. We ended up buying most of the materials in one store and visiting a few others to inquire about how much a pipe would cost compared to the sheet metal for the chimney.

Today was an important day for the stove project. The team and I traveled to Dolutpura this morning to observe Sumitra Ben build her stove. We went to the back of Sumitra Ben’s house where she had the mati piled up.

IMG_6492editShe had it dug from the field yesterday and mixed it with a little bit of water. She said that this process would prepare the mati for the build the next day. The mati was almost like play-doh. It would crumble more than play-doh but the water that is added made it feel like the mixture we had used for our first prototype.

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Erica, Zoha, and I joined Sumitra Ben in creating the final mixture. She took a little bit of water and kneaded a cluster of dirt. The process was similar to the way the dough is prepared for making a roti. After making about seven clusters we moved to the area where Sumitra Ben said we would build the stove. She started out by taking the clusters and forming the U-shape. The base of the stove was initially built wider and thicker than we had estimated when we were trying to replicate their stove.

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Then as she continued to build the stove up, she would constantly carve out the mixture from the bottom and pack it on the sides and top. She also carved out the mixture from inside the stove so it had more space for the wood. After the base structure was finished, she rolled three small clusters of the mixture and packed one each of the three sides of the stove. Each of these clusters were packed sort of inward into the stove so that they can support pots and pans. She also added a little strip of mixture on the two ends of the stove. We asked what it was for and she said that it was just part of her design. Finally, she took some water and smoothed out the whole stove.

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The finished structure would then be covered with a mixture of cow dung and red dirt. Sumitra Ben said that we would have to wait a full day before covering it with that mixture. This covering would harden the outside of the stove as well as improve the stability of the stove. While we were building the stove, a few kids whipped out Erica’s multipurpose notebook and added more animals to her collection. After building the stove, Erica went to learn how to say the animals’ names and many of the kids had a lot of fun with her pronunciation.

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Before we left, we were going to meet with Manojbhai to update him about the stove project but he hadn’t returned from Kalol so we will meet him tomorrow. We are excited to finish Sumitra Ben’s stove and build our stove with her tomorrow!

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