This month, in the Adventures of Janae, I built an oven.. wait for it… FROM SCRATCH! Yep, sure did. Oven building is a project we often do in rural areas to help prevent smoke inhalation. Women are expected to be the sole cookers and usually families who can’t afford gas use wood. That’s dangerous in a small room and as a result rural women die early from smoke inhalation. The oven is built outside and it’s more efficient in wood burning. You build it using, horse manure, dirt, a sticky glue mixture made from soaking dragon fruit leaves in water, clay bricks, and one large barrel.
The process is as follows:
-dragonfruit leaves, soaked for two days in water is used as glue, mixed with a little water, horse manure and dirt.
-Bricks are cut into the necessary size and often times clay bricks break
-a base of two layers of bricks are built first and it must be level
We had the additional obstacle of building on a hill. The women we worked with lived in a very rural area and were unable to get proper notification. So they had to scrape the glue material from the leaves by hand.
It was messy and hard. You have to use a leveler for every brick laid. Often times we had to cut the bricks with a machete to get the right fit. The dirt mixture smells a bit, but only when it’s wet and the sun is disrespectful in Boaco, Nicaragua. Still, the people were overjoyed to have an oven. A cooperation of three families will be using to sell bread in their small community. This oven is literally a means to have money to put food on the table. It’s great to know, one small oven changed these women’s lives.