The following is an e-postcard from Kai Iizuka, a GlobalGiving Representative in Zambia.
When I was told I was going to be meeting with a grandmother that Chikumbuso takes care of and had recently bought a new rocket stove for, I was expecting to meet a frail old lady spending her days within her house. Instead, I was presented with a hale, energetic, talkative woman who from the way she moved, you wouldn’t have thought she were a day over thirty. Esnart was her name, and I was able to hear her life story through Ms. Beauty, her Chikumbuso caretaker, who kindly acted as an interpreter.
Esnart was living alone due to the fact that she had lost her husband and outlived seven of her eight children, who had left her many grandchildren. However, she did not seem lonely at all, with her neighbors and others in the community constantly interacting with her and Beauty passing through to see how she was doing every morning. Though she used to make a living through piece work in order to feed her family, thanks to the monthly supplies she gets from Chikumbuso, a lot of that burden has been lifted and I was told that she now works as a successful marriage counselor with many clients.
The newly acquired rocket stove, she explained, was a lot more efficient than what she used to have as it is significantly easier to use, consumed less coal, and allowed for nshima to be cooked within thirty minutes. This is a great improvement over the coal brier that she used to use to cook with, which was slow and required a lot of expensive coal to use. While I was there, with help from two boys that had tagged along from Chikumbuso, she was able to quickly fix herself a meal using only two pieces of charcoal and a few sticks.