A post from Rich Aguilar
I was fortunate to visit the orphanage in West Bengal last Spring. It was a trip that changed my life and perception of what "real" life is for the rest of the world. One of the biggest eye opening experiences was watching how the villagers cooked! I was totally surprised by what I saw. In many if not most cases no one had a table to prep food and most was done on the floor with a wooden cutting board. In addition, they don't cook as you or I would with gas or electric stoves. Their preferred or most accepted way of cooking is to create small handmade ovens made with the same mud they built their homes with. See the picture below!
As you can see from the photo I took while visiting a families home, they don't cook like you or I. In addition to cooking in mud ovens on the floor, they don't use gas or electric like your or I as well. They instead use wood or in many cases cow dung. The sad part of cooking with cow dung is that naturally it isn't the safest and cleanest way to cook. While they have been doing this for centuries many people still get sick and suffer malnutrition. Here is a short video I created from clips I was able to capture while on my journey with one of our partners. While the whole video is worth watching mark 0:47 is where you can see cooking in action!
Money is the biggest obstacle for these villagers. When you walk into the village the orphanage is at you realize quickly that money is a big problem, the lack of it. Due to this they aren't able to buy the proper cooking equipment that you or I have grown accustomed to. We are excited to announce that we have recently been able to purchase brand new cooking supplies for the orphanage! Take a peek at the pictures below.
In India keeping things sanitary is one of if not the biggest obstacle many families struggle with. With these brand new kitchen supplies the children at the orphanage will be able to have a good home cooked meal thats free from unsanitary conditions. Inside the orphanage a kitchen was built that has work stations (see pics above) so the cook and properly prepare food. Instead of using wood or cow dung to use as a fuel source they will be cooking with propane tanks. This by far is a much better cooking environment than before. Clean drinkable water is also a major problem in India due to the fact that there isn't much. Many of the wells are tainted with human and animal waste, along with other chemicals that get back into the water supply. By having these brand new cooking supplies they will have the ability to boil water, something that most first world countries don't even think about. This is an exciting announcement to make! We are so happy and thrilled that the children at the orphanage will be able to enjoy a safely prepared home cooked meal. What a blessing that truly is.