Solar Cookers International
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Solar Cooker Review

August 1999

Solar Cooking Archive:

Volume 5, Number 2
Back Issues  E-mail PDF

Circulation 8,000

In This Issue

SCI’s East Africa Coordinator
SCI Welcomes Nadir Aden
President's Corner
Executive Director Search in Progress
Stewards of the Sun: Our Members
News You Send
A Volunteer for all Seasons 
Solar Book Review

East Africa Coordinator Going Strong

by Kevin “Ramon” Coyle

Heroic is the best single word for the work of Mrs. Margaret C.A. Owino, SCI’s East Africa Coordinator, based in Nairobi, Kenya. On the job slightly more than a year, Margaret familiarized herself with SCI's projects in Kenya and Ethiopia--with the conditions, the people, and the gradual headway SCI has been making in teaching solar cooking in Kakuma and Aisha refugee camps

Then, she plunged right in.

Margaret has negotiated with UN officials in Ethiopia. She’s researched alternative suppliers for solar cooking gear like reflective foil, pots, plastic bags, and black paint. She’s field-tested samples of gear and experimented with various schemes to bring cooker costs even lower and to enable refugees to make or finish cookers. She’s unsnarled hang-ups in getting supplies from Nairobi across the wild desert to Kakuma. At times, when necessary, Margaret has traveled by truck for a day and a half to reach the camp, so she appreciates the logistical challenges faced by truckers in the arid gulches and plains.

More than a diplomat, researcher, engineer and shipping agent, Margaret is a teacher, a teacher of teachers. When she started supervising SCI’s work in Kakuma, her leadership rallied the refugee staff of the solar cooker project. Early on, she gave an extended Training of Trainers workshop for the solar project staff. The workshop's theme was "Participatory Training Methodologies" and included team building and problem solving. The trainers feel more confident as a result of Margaret's involvement. They see the solar cooking program adapting to Kakuma thanks to Margaret’s initiative--from improving contact with the Kakuma camp management--Lutheran World Federation (LWF)--to making sure that each of the 10 training centers in the camp has sufficient solar cooker teaching supplies in stock.

Margaret has worked hard to facilitate the transfer of responsibility for the solar cooker project to the excellent LWF staff. LWF management and staff now fully recognize the solar project and have incorporated the project's supervisor and monitors into their bi-weekly meeting of the LWF social services staff. The LWF finance department ensures that the refugees working in the solar project are paid on time.

Margaret also works closely with the monitors who help keep the trainers on task. Last November she reported, “In actual practice, trainers are monitored all the time. Monitors are always present on a daily basis as the training goes on...and even chip in from time to time.” She’s coached the monitors in what to watch for in trainers’ teaching style and in how to help the trainers to master improved methods.

Margaret also appointed a former trainer who had worked his way up to being a monitor, Shadrack Alumai, to be supervisor of the project. Shadrack reports directly to Hellen Lipo of the LWF. In May, Margaret reported: "Project staff were happy...They have no problems as they have very able support from Faith Awino and Hellen Lipo."

But Kakuma is only one aspect of Margaret’s job. She has also been busy setting up SCI’s East Africa office and registering it with the Kenyan government. She’s been building awareness of SCI among environmental and human service groups in Nairobi and coordinating with the Nairobi offices of our partners in Kakuma, LWF and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. She also negotiated a cut in the price SCI pays for CooKits manufactured in Nairobi.

In late April and early May, Margaret was in Ethiopia, working out a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UN officers for the next 12 months of the solar cooker project in the Aisha Refugee Camp. The plan calls for further solar cooking education activities, creation of a permanent supply line into Aisha so that refugees can trade for replacement cookers, insulating bags, etc., and exploration of the possibility of producing cookers in Aisha camp itself. Working with a UN counterpart, Margaret advertised to hire a coordinator for the Ethiopian project, reviewed the applicants, interviewed the top five, and hired Mr. Nadir Aden.

Margaret and Nadir then went to the remote Aisha camp and met with leaders of the refugee community and the women’s committee. Margaret reports:

“All those present affirmed that every household in Aisha camp owned a solar cooking kit...The community affirmed that they could cook most of their food except njera using the solar cooker.  Those who used their panels tended to use it for lunch as well as for dinner.”

After the meeting, Margaret gave Nadir a tour of the camp and then took him to Aisha town to meet with local officials of the Ethiopian government. There, Margaret helped Nadir arrange lodging and meals for the 20 days per month he’ll be working in Aisha. Then she rushed back to Addis Ababa for the official signing of the MOU, for some discussions with a technical officer and for another effort to locate a manufacturer to mass produce CooKits in Ethiopia. Under pressure and under difficult logistical conditions, Margaret’s productivity gives testimony to her can-do spirit.

 In her reports to SCI, Margaret gives testimony to the value of solar cooking to the refugees.

 “It is true,” she writes, “that more men are turning up (for solar cooking lessons), as they find the methodology to be very convenient. Those without spouses find that it saves their food, which they would have otherwise exchanged for firewood or charcoal. They also feel it is clean compared to three-stone fire hearths. In addition, those with some form of employment leave their food cooking, and when they get back, it is ready.”

Early this year, the World Food Program stopped providing free food for the solar cooking training sessions in Kakuma. Trainers, monitors and Margaret discussed the issue and decided training could be more “demand-driven” if the trainees would gamble that their own precious food supplies could be cooked at the workshops using solar power.

The report came back to Margaret: the trainings are still as popular as ever. When asked why she’d risk food for solar cooking lessons, one refugee replied, “The food basket this time round is only maize grains, which require a lot of firewood or charcoal to cook. So it is better we bring a little here so that we learn how to cook it using solar than exchanging more for firewood or charcoal every day.”

“The last firewood distribution was in November, and now it is February,” another added. “It has been really hard to cook, and we have seen those who had solar panels doing very well.”

Thousands of people know how to use their solar CooKits, thanks to Margaret’s diligence, courage and drive. Phone lines might go down, dust storms might disrupt solar training, truck convoys might not get through, but with Margaret on duty, we know that the best possible job that can be done will be done.

Another Life Saved

When Margaret Owino was in Ethiopia in April moving our Aisha project forward, she asked Mrs. Faustine Odaba to check in on Kakuma. Faustine was on the SCI project team that launched the Kakuma solar cooking project in 1995 and now works for Rotary International’s solar cooking project in Kenya. While working in Kakuma 1, where SCI’s project is, Faustine and another woman were invited to visit one of the neighboring refugee camps.

Margaret reported tersely: “While touring Kakuma 3, Faustine and Augustine Omalla managed to save a lady who was trying to commit suicide.”

SCI salutes Faustine Odaba, a heroine of the solar cooking saga in more ways than one. Faustine is an honorary member of SCI and serves on the SCI's Kenyan advisory council.

SCI Welcomes Nadir Aden

We are proud to welcome aboard our newest staff member, Nadir Aden. Nadir was hired in early May by East Africa Coordinator Margaret C.A. Owino. His role will be that of a coordinator for SCI’s Ethiopia project, located in Aisha camp. The position will require a multitude of skills and dedication to the practice of solar cooking.

Nadir’s duties will consist primarily of organizing the project, incorporating solar cooking supplies into the local marketplace and collecting data. No doubt his continuous presence will also play a vital role in keeping the spirits of the solar cooks high.

An immediate responsibility for Nadir was the recruitment of six trainers. With the help of UNHCR staff, Ethiopian Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) officials, and refugee elders, women and youth representatives, Nadir screened possible recruits and hired the following individuals:

 Ayan Osman Abdi, Saada Momin Aden, Kadra Hassan Ahmed, Asha Abdi Buh, Lula Jama Gahair, Zeinab Jama Hashi

Other priorities include monitoring the usage of CooKits, such as the types of food cooked, cooking frequencies and user profiles--gender, age, etc. In his first monthly report, Nadir notes that many families are in need of replacement bags. However, those that have bags use their CooKits to cook tea, rice, wheat, meat, and pasta. Nadir will also conduct a market survey to identify possible vendors of supplies. He has already taken steps toward this end by placing insulation bags in three local shops and directing local project staff to make refugees aware of these supply locations. In addition, Nadir will continue to explore local production of supplies and reuse/recycle options for worn out bags.

These and other tasks set aside for the new Aisha coordinator are not easy ones. Nadir will need to work well with refugee families, local officials and NGO staff members. Nadir, born in Gode, Ethiopia and schooled in both Ethiopia and Somalia, has a solid education, which includes computer and accounting training. He also has experience working in managerial roles. Skills he gained while working as a nutritional worker, agricultural project coordinator and rural development manager will no doubt aid him in his new role as well. But most importantly, he has good people skills, which are invaluable when it comes to the spread of solar cooking.

We wish Nadir the best of luck and welcome him to SCI and the world of solar cooking.

President’s Corner

Dr. Norge Jerome

The first six months of 1999 have been busy ones for Solar Cookers International (SCI), with much effort going into the search for a new executive director. In April, board members Elvira Williams and I represented SCI in Washington, D.C. at the annual meeting of InterAction, an umbrella group for non profit organizations like SCI which are involved with international development.

SCI’s East African representative, Margaret Owino, reached an agreement with UNHCR to continue SCI’s limited project at the Aisha, Ethiopia, refugee camp. This will allow us to supply bags and solar cooking information to the refugees at the camp. We welcome Mr. Nadir Aden as SCI’s field coordinator for Aisha, and the six trainers he has hired to assist with the project in the camp.

SCI developed a memo of understanding for a partnership with the University of Zimbabwe, Development Technology Centre. This collaborative project will bring a closer tie to the people of Zimbabwe for wider dissemination of solar cooking and the introduction of entrepreneurship to the women trainers there. It enhances prospects for creating a commercial base for expansion of solar cooker use while creating an opportunity for women trainers to operate small businesses and generate income for their families.

As always, SCI is looking for help to increase our wonderful group of supporters. One of the keys to support growth is making people aware of SCI and its transforming projects. We encourage you to give friends, relatives, and others an opportunity to participate in the good news of solar cooking for people and environments of our beautiful world.

Executive Director Search in Progress

As of the publication deadline for the Solar Cooker Review in early July, I report that the search for a new executive director is still in progress. The search committee has extensively reviewed 44 applicants, and followed this up with phone interviews and in-person visits. The process has been lengthened by the difficulties in coordinating availability of both candidates and search members, which at times has been quite challenging.

I thank fellow search committee members Norge Jerome, Linda Helm Krapf, Claude Thau, and Elvira Williams for their dedication and effort on this most important search.

Bob Metcalf

Co-chair, Executive Director Search Committee



The Gambia

Saikou Jarra's Tubanding Earth Savers Club has demonstrated three types of cookers in eight villages in Central River Division, attracting 1000 spectators.

Women complain that they are donkeys for their husbands. Why? Because first they work in the rice field, then they fetch firewood from as much as ten kilometers away, then they must walk one and a half kilometers to fetch water and cook the meal. One woman said, "this new technology has untied the ropes around the necks of the women of the Gambia." S. Jarra, Tubanding Village, Bansang P.O. Box, Upper Fulladu West, Central River Division, The Gambia.


Ulrich Zimmermann sends info on two recipe collections available in German for users of sun ovens. Johanna Itin-Sulzer: Wir kochen mit Sonnen-Energie, Solarkochund Informationsbuch. Edited by HELVETAS, St. Moritzstrasse 15, Ch-8042 Zürich, Switzerland. Also, Das Solarkocherbuch. Edited by Solarkocher Baugruppe. Published by ENERGIEWENDE Verlag Michael Lardy, Am Rebenberg 25a, D-66130 Eschringen/Germany.


An international conference entitled World Solar Cooking and Food Processing will be held October 3-6, 1999 in Varese. The focus will be on strategies and financing. Sponsors include the World Solar Academy and the Federation of Scientific and Technical Associations. Ms. Stefania Grotti, World Solar Academy, P.le R. Morandi 2 – 20121, Milan, Italy. Tel: 39-02-76015672, fax: 39-02-782485, email:


Madagascar-California Alliance president Edward Metz reports that their solar cooking project in Nosy Be is moving forward as scheduled. Project leader Charline Rakotomampiandra is exploring the construction of stovetop cookers using materials from the Antananarivo province, and she continues to supply panel cookers. Charline notes that panel-cooked cakes are particularly popular! She has trained five instructors to continue her work while she travels to Europe, and she plans to continue with a project in southern Madagascar upon her return. E. Metz, Madagascar-California Alliance, 537 Jones Street #780, San Francisco, California 94102, USA. Tel: 415-441-6042, email:


Gnibouwa Diassana reports that solar cooking demonstrations in the town of Bla sometimes have up to 90 people in attendance. One student said, “we have seen, touched and eaten the we believe that solar cooking is possible and it seems to be a good way to cook due to its benefits: no smoke, no wood consumption and free energy.” G. Diassana, BP.26 Bla, Mali, West Africa.


Global Solar Partners School Project. A Solar Youth Exposition is scheduled for May 1st and 2nd, year 2000, at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow. Parallel to this will run the 16th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition. Fifty Scottish secondary schools will each join with a partner school worldwide to work together on solar-related projects during 1999. Selected partnership teams who have produced the most interesting project will be invited to Glasgow to present their work and take part in both conferences. BP Amoco is offering support in the form of research materials, solar investigation kits, access to communication facilities if available or support from a solar "mentor" or BP Solar engineer.

To find out how you can join in and become a Global Solar Partner, contact Dr. Paul Rowley, Solar Energy Education Coordinator, The Association for Science Education, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AA UK. Tel: 44-1707-283-000, email:, web:


Manolo Vilchez reports he is working with Dr. Dieter Seifert of Germany on a parabolic solar cooker called the SK98M. When it’s not being used as a cooker, it can be reconfigured to serve as a table. At night, it can be brought into the home where the parabola can be used to brighten the light of a candle or lamp.


Peter Bech and Matthew J. Matimbwi, Diocesan engineers for the Evangelical Lutheran Church Tanzania in Morogoro Province, conducted research indicating that every person in the Ulanga and Kilombero districts burns a minimum of 3 Kg of firewood every day for activities such as cooking food, boiling water, and firing clay bricks. Three parabolic solar cookers, recently arrived from Germany, have been tested for effectiveness. Results: 5 liters of water reached 100°C in 20 minutes; 20 liters of water in black painted tin boiled in 90 minutes. M.J. Matimbwi, Rude Strasse 34, D-24941 Flensburg, Germany. Email: matimbwi@simbanet

Antje Förstle and Yusuf Vierkötter report the use of a parabolic cooker, the SK14, donated by Mama Earth (a German-based organization) to speed-cook rice, but prefer the solar box for cooking vegetables because the taste of the veggies and the vitamins are preserved by slower cooking. The high cost of the SK is a deterrent to local acceptance. They are experimenting with local cookers made of recycled polished beer cans in a frame of iron or wood. The SK is useful, however, for dyeing plaited palm leaves, which need to be boiled and stirred to intensify the color. GO! - East Africa, P.O. Box 152, Zanzibar, Tanzania. Tel: 255-811-610-560, email:

Sperancea K. Gabone writes of a new solar energy office in Moshi named Kilimanjaro Biogas and Solar Center. Topics of concern include solar cooking, food drying, and electricity. In a recent demonstration, the following cooking times were recorded: meat, 2 hours; vegetables, 1 hour; bananas, 2 hours; eggs, 1 hour. S.K. Gabone, Kilimanjaro Biogas and Solar Center, P.O. Box 9716, Moshi, Tanzania.



David Delaney has recently developed a cooking pot system specifically designed for solar panel cookers. Greenhouse enclosures, as Mr. Delaney calls them, usually consist of a transparent bag or inverted bowl surrounding the cooking pot. Unfortunately, these enclosures collect condensation and require periodic drying. Also, they make it difficult to inspect food while cooking. Mr. Delaney’s system, inspired by Roger Bernard’s idea of suspending a cooking pot in a glass vessel, creates separate transparent greenhouse enclosures for both the pot and the lid. These enclosures would allow sunlight to reach the pot from all directions (including the bottom), provide insulation from outside air, and allow vapors to escape directly to the atmosphere. They would also allow for easy access to the food, and provide a convenient stand for the pot, which can keep the food warm while on the serving table. Mr. Delaney welcomes any assistance in research and cost effectiveness. D. Delaney, 142 Waverley Street, Apartment 2A, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0V4, Canada. Email:, web: 

Costa Rica

Solar Cookers International (SCI) and the Central American Solar Energy Project (PROCESO) co-sponsored the 9th annual Fiesta del Sol and the 2nd Central American Summit on Solar Cooking this past February at Santa Bárbara in the Guanacaste province. Different types of solar cookers, including panel, box, and parabolic cookers, were on display, as well as other solar-based equipment. Asociación ANDAR, a loan and training NGO, displayed their solar herb dryer, which is used by many businesses in the area. SCI was represented by board members Dr. Shyam S. Nandwani and Dr. William Lankford (also representing PROCESO), and by volunteers Don Coan and Barbara Jodry. For info contact Sol de Vida, tel: 506-283-2905

Michi and Gunter Dallmayr of German EG Solar have compiled recipes from previous Fiesta del Sol celebrations into a cookbook for solar cooks in the Spanish language. The cookbook was available in February at the 9th annual Fiesta del Sol.

A meeting of the Red Iberoamericana de Coccion Solar de Alimentos (RICSA) was held April 4-8, 1999. This group, consisting of 14 professionals from universities in various countries, organized the following three working groups: cooker materials/designs, cooker testing, and cooker dissemination and social acceptance. Each member is given a specific task to accomplish in his/her own country, and they will gather again in a few months to share the results. In addition, members are encouraged to hold classes in their respective countries. RICSA coordinator Dr. Luis Saravia, University of Salta, Argentina. Email:


The Spanish language Catholic Herald (San Francisco & Sacramento Diocese) recently published a photo of Sister Gregorcich in the village of Quiche conducting a blessing of solar ovens built as a result of a national project which she coordinated.


Solar heated water pasteurization equipment developed and donated by Dr. John C. Cobb of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was recently installed in Copper Canyon area of the Sierra Madre region to benefit Tarahumara indigenous people. Dr. J.C. Cobb, 10501 Lagrima De Oro NE #4320, Albuquerque, NM 87111, USA. Email:


Jean-Claude Pulfer, agricultural engineering specialist in solar energy, and WILDEN GANZEN, an NGO from Holland, have helped equip a Development Center for Solar Energy where people can produce ovens, solar cookers, solar dryers and solar heaters. According to Martin Almada they are also working on the project "Small Enterprises for Young Rural Women Utilizing Solar Energy" as a strategy for fighting poverty, protecting the environment and creating sources for employment. M. Almada, email:



ligtenb1s.jpg (39054 bytes)ligtenb2s.jpg (64887 bytes)Al Ligtenberg, a California-based member of SCI famous for his extensive solar cooking teaching efforts in Nepal, has kept busy spreading the word at a series of recent events, including the Earth Tech 2000 show in San Jose, an Earth Day event in Sunnyvale, and at the Real Goods SOLFEST in Northern California. In May, Al and his wife were in Peru, again demonstrating solar cooking. Email:


 In April, fifteen of Rowena Gerber's third, fourth and fifth grade students from the Miami Country Day School presented a workshop on solar cooking at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. This is their fourth presentation using SCI resources and demonstrating construction of traditional solar cookers. Students' original experimental designs included use of tires and garbage cans. R. Gerber, Miami Country Day School, P.O. Box 380608, Miami, FL 33238-0608, USA. Tel: 305-759-2843, web:, email:


 Roma Stibravy made a solar presentation to the Association of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) Representatives to the United Nations. These states are energy poor except for Trinidad and Tobago which exports oil for foreign exchange. Email: 



J.N. Malaviya, solar energy consultant, organized an essay contest for schoolteachers that was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Pune Central. The topic "Benefits and Relevance of Solar Energy" was selected based on the fact that India is heading toward energy shortages but has unlimited natural solar energy. The authors of the three best entries received solar cookers as prizes. The contest stressed the need for teachers to educate future generations on the wise use of energy resources. J.N. Malaviya, C6/24, New Pleasant Park, Bhairobanala, Solapur Road, Pune  411013, India. Email: 

Keshav Jaini has been doing demos and workshops developing different types of cookers from locally available material. The demand for cookers is such that he provided a template to a local cardboard box manufacturer who agreed to make a sample lot of 100 CooKits. He is preparing a pamphlet to distribute free to people interested in solar cooking. Email:

As noted in the March 1999 issue of Solar Cooker Review, Dr. Ashok Kundapur recently published an extensive review of nearly 50 different solar cooker designs. He has since put the entire report on the internet, available at 

Dr. Rajammal P. Devadas reports the development of the “Avinash,” a fiber reinforced plastic solar cooker. This particular cooker is becoming popular with middle income households in India. Agricultural families appreciate its compactness and portability, which allows them to cook meals wherever they are working. Email: 


Yasuko Torii demonstrated solar cooking during a round-the-world cruise in late 1998. From Havana to Singapore, 42 days crossing the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, she cooked rice, sweet potatoes, cassava, pumpkin, etc. on the deck using a CooKit and other small panel cookers. Over 700 passengers watched the demonstrations, tasted food, and sipped tea. They were amazed to see sweet potatoes baked in a beer can in a small panel cooker. Sunshine was very strong in the South Pacific. Y. Torii, 2-18-12 Kamitsuchidana-Kita, Ayase, Kanagawa 252-1111, Japan. Email:,  web:



Thet Khyne, a teacher from the Karen minority region, reports that villagers in central Myanmar sink their covered pots of rice into hot sand so that the lid is exposed to the blazing sun. The pot absorbs heat all over, gradually cooking the food inside. He suggests that in arid regions of Africa many kinds of food could be cooked the same way. The lid painted black absorbs more heat, reducing cooking time. Sent by: Princess Ying Sita, The Burma American Fund, 160 West End Avenue, Suite 18J, New York, New York 10023, USA


crt1s.jpg (74645 bytes)Maarten Olthof reports nearly 2000 people in refugee camps in eastern Nepal now make use of solar cookers, some parabolic. Email:

Hans-Hermann Buesselmann says two donors, the German foundation BINGO-Lotto and Teebken, a construction company, enabled the construction of two solar mirrors and biogas ovens for a new school kitchen in Itahari. Mirrors and ovens used in combination greatly reduce the reliance on conventional energy. A similar combination has been used for projects in Bangladesh. Email:

Sri Lanka

E.C. Jeyaruban writes that ZOA Refugee Care Netherlands is in the midst of a two- year solar cooking project in Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, and Amparai, three eastern Sri Lanka districts. The projects are designed to benefit internally displaced persons. Thus far, 140 volunteers have been selected and trained in solar cooking skills, and the excitement level is high. Booklets and cooking instructions are available to them in the Tamil language. The cookers, made by a local carpenter with assistance from a technical institute in Batticaloa, cost less than $30 US. 11/18D, School Avenue, Mahindarama Road, Ethul Kotte, Sri Lanka. Tel: 862-217, fax: 882-724, email:


In the March 1999 Solar Cooker Review we noted that Belin Pierre made a wooden CooKit, and that inquiries should be made to Rev. Jules Casseus. The correct contact information is Rev. Jules Casseus, Attn: Belin Pierre, Agape Cap-Haitian, 7990 15th St. East, Sarasota, FL 34243. Please note that Mr. Pierre cannot mail his CooKits to the United States for selling.


Stewards of the Sun

1998-1999 Individual Members 

Click here to see the names.

Number of countries represented = 45  Number of US states represented = 46
SCI has printed its organizational members in the past and will again.

A Volunteer for all Seasons 

by Bud Lembke

 When you run out of enthusiasm, persistence and energy for a good cause, contact Barby Pulliam of El Dorado Hills, California, near Sacramento. She has enough of those qualities for ten people, especially when it comes to Solar Cookers International and the Girl Scouts (known as Girl Guides worldwide).

You may have to move fast, however, for at 73, she doesn’t just sit around the house twiddling her thumbs. She left June 30 for Africa and another training and organizing mission on behalf of solar cooking. It is the fourth year in a row that she has visited that continent. Altogether, she has visited Africa six times.

As a self-styled “professional volunteer” all her life, Pulliam takes this largely self-financed travel in stride.

This time, she is visiting five countries in nine weeks: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar.

She does, however, face a bit more of a challenge in the communicating realm on this visit. Her trips in the past have been to English-speaking African countries that were former British colonies. That pattern will be broken this summer with her visit to Madagascar.

“My rusty French might not get me by there,” she said. “And I’m going to Mozambique and I do not speak Portuguese.”

Pulliam, a member of the Solar Cookers International board for six years, is undaunted by the language differences. She expects to have interpreters from the local Girl Guides organizations helping her. Starting as a youngster in Inglewood, California, her work with the Girl Scouts goes back 62 years.

 She explained that the Girl Guides team up admirably to assist Solar Cookers in developing the training bases in Africa.

“The problem in most of the countries where Solar Cookers has gone is that we don’t have an on-going presence there,” she said.

This problem is overcome when there can be a tie with the Girl Guides

“First, they’re women, and that makes a big difference,” Pulliam said. “Women don’t believe a man when he tells her how to cook.”

The Girl Guides and Girl Scouts organization is established in 175 countries, so this base exists where solar cookers are needed.

Girl Guides have had saving the environment as an emphasis since the movement began in 1910, which makes another good fit with Solar Cookers. And finally, members are required to do some community service, for which they can gain credits by learning how to use solar cookers and passing the knowledge along to others.

Pulliam also praised Rotary International in Zimbabwe for coming to the rescue when local training monies fell short. The service clubs provided a $40,000 grant for this work.

While working inside the home and raising two children with her husband, Carl, Pulliam concedes that a second career as a volunteer came naturally because “I was unable to say no” to requests for her help.

She said her husband, retired from being the lead lobbyist in Sacramento for the Southern California Gas Co., is supportive of her volunteerism and trips for Solar Cookers.

“He’s a wonderful social secretary,” she said.

 Ms. Pulliam can be reached by mail at 3523 Rolph Way, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762, by email at, or through the web at  

Gifts That Keep Giving

Alternative Gifts International (AGI) offers gift giving that remembers the less fortunate. Solar Cookers International (SCI) is one of the beneficiaries of AGI’s work. Over the past three years AGI's donors have contributed 1886 solar cookers for refugee families in eastern Africa, almost 15% of the total distributed through SCI. For a free catalog call AGI (in the USA) at 800-842-2243 or write AGI, P.O. Box 2267, Lucerne Valley, CA 92356-2267. AGI’s web site is

Memorial and Living Tributes

Living Tributes:

Shirley Freedland in honor of Eleanor and Clark Shimeall

Memorials Tributes:

Margaret and George Mustard in memory of Lila Petersen

A gift in memory of Francine Thau

A gift in memory of George and Gertrude Prosser

Solar Book Review

by Christopher Gronbeck

The new edition of Joseph Radabaugh's book Heaven's Flame, published by Home Power Publishing, is a great addition to the bookshelf of any aspiring or established solar chef. The text is well written and the quality of layout, printing, binding, and graphics do the content justice.

The first half of Heaven's Flame consists of introductory information about solar cooking...a history of designs and designers, the social and environmental benefits, and answers to frequently-asked questions by someone who has obviously heard them all a thousand times.

The second half of the book focuses on designing and building cookers, with a special emphasis on Joe's contribution to the world's solar cooker repertoire, the SunStar. His cooker is constructed of two nested cardboard boxes with a glass glazing and four flat reflectors that form a sort of rectangular cone. It's a bit more complex than your average panel or box cooker, but he makes it look easy and it produces some serious power.

In 150 pages, Joe covers people, projects, events, technologies, recipes, environmental issues, and fun stories. There is technical information, but not more than necessary, and the casual writing style makes it very readable.

To order the book, which listed for US$15.00 at the time this was written, visit on the internet, or call 800-707-6585 (+1-530-475-0830 outside the U.S.).

Kudos to Joe and Home Power for saving precious trees by printing on sustainably-harvested bamboo stock!

Board Members in Monday Developments

Two SCI board members appeared in the June 7, 1999 issue of Monday Developments, a periodical of InterAction, a coalition of 160 private US relief, development and refugee agencies to which SCI belongs. Beverlee Bruce, representing the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, wrote an article on developing programs for internally displaced persons (IDPs). Elvira Williams was mentioned for her role in a new committee promoting partnerships between Northern and Southern NGOs. For information on these partnerships, contact Evariste Karangwa, manager, Africa Liaison Project, tel: 202-676-8227, ext. 131, email:

Al’s Photo Journal

A brief sampling of Al Ligtenberg’s teaching travels over the past year…keep up the great work Al!

[Photos N-S]

Goodness, Gaseous, Great Ball of Fire!

Our solar system revolves around you,
You give us power to turn beef to stew,
We catch your ray,
We cook all day.

Goodness, gaseous, great ball of fire!

You give us heat and energy too,
You give us power to do what we do,
A box a wrap,
Your source we trap.

Goodness, gaseous, great ball of fire!

Send us sunshine!
Oooooh! Feels good!
Help our food bake!
You give us sunlight like we knew you would!

So Fine!
Got a keep on shining all the time, time, time, time...

You’re 93 million miles away,
But you still turn our night into day,
You’re just so neat,
With all your heat.

Goodness, Gaseous, Great Ball of Fire!!!

 --by students of Miami Country Day School

Solar Cooker Review

 Solar Cooker Review is published two or three times a year, with the purpose of presenting solar cooking information from around the world. Topics include solar cooker technology, dissemination strategies, educational materials, and cultural and social adaptations. From time to time we cover related topics such as women’s issues, wood shortages, health, nutrition, air pollution, climatic changes, and the environment.

Solar Cooker Review is sent to those who contribute money or news about solar cooking projects. The suggested subscription price is $10/yr. Single copies are sent free to select libraries and groups overseas.

We welcome reports and commentary related to solar cooking for possible inclusion. These may be edited for clarity or space. Please cite sources whenever possible. We will gladly credit your contribution. Send contributions to SCI REVIEW, 1919 21st Street, #101, Sacramento, CA 95811-6827, USA. You may also send them by fax 916-455-4498, or email

Solar Cooker Review is compiled and edited by the staff of Solar Cookers International (SCI) with additional assistance by Bev Blum and layout by IMPACT Publications located in Medford, OR, USA. SCI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to spread solar cooking to benefit people and environments.

This document is published on The Solar Cooking Archive at For questions or comments, contact