Stove day with Garth

Andavadoaka Travel Blog

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Assembling for stove day
Later, Arnaud and I started making our own peanut butter, which was better and much, much cheaper than the stuff they were selling at the supermarket. We started a trend and soon most of the staff were paying locals to shell and pound pounds and pounds of peanuts. Garth, the camp manager in Jenny’s absence, did it best, hiring small children and paying them little. At least that was the rumor we liked to spread.
Garth was Zimbabwean, educated and smart and highly idiosyncratic in his approach of everything starting with the linear concept of time and not ending at the movement of the tides. Even though his propensity to reinterpret reality at times put hurdles into his staff’s lives, he was revered and loved by all of them and in due course by us.
Solar parabol stove

He oversaw several of Blue Ventures key projects. One of them was an initiative to reduce carbon emissions by promoting and providing solar powered stoves to the people of Andavadoaka, After several households had tested various models over a few months there was a big cooking day with demonstrations and speeches. Arnaud demonstrated the cooking of a fish curry, which sent the local women into hysterics, but when it came time to eat, everything was gobbled up in five minutes. We also made a chocolate pudding, which was distributed to all the small children spoon by spoon and was gone in record time.

Since I had foolishly bragged about being a Web developer, Garth roped me into creating a site for Blue Ventures’ biggest initiative, a community-driven project for the conservation of the area’s ecology and thus people’s livelihoods. He was one of the only people I ever worked with that understood somebody else’s ideas immediately and was able to creatively and logically elaborate on them and to communicate these elaborations clearly. It was a pleasure.

Several weeks before our arrival, in a misguided attempt at learning-by-doing, Garth had tried to surf the breakers off the close reef and opened his shin in a gash that was now festering and keeping him from diving.


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Assembling for stove day
Assembling for stove day
Solar parabol stove
Solar parabol stove
Stove day
Stove day
Andavadoaka
photo by: tpuell