September 23, 2013

The Lazola cooker construction course

In June and July, everybody worked very hard to finish the preparations for the course. Mugo organized, travelled, lobbied, got required information and worked tirelessly. The Kiini property had to be connected to the water supply and to the electricity grid. Due to a three-weeks teacher strike, schools were expected to remain open until mid-August. Therefore the dormitories and kitchen at Kiini secondary school could not be used by the trainees. Mugo mastered the situation by having an improvised kitchen built next to the workshop and bunk beds which were put into the office. In July, applicants for training were interviewed by MKICDO board members and by the end of the month the construction of the workshop was completed.

the workshop under construction
metal bars and doors for security

interview of applicants

 In the meantime, in Germany we solicited funds to finance the construction, the equipment of the workshop with machines and tools and the purchase of materials for the first training course. Thanks to generous donations from friends and well-wishers and a grant from the Bingo - Environmental Foundation of Lower Saxony, Germany we were in a position to support our Kenyan friends. 

On August 4th, Hans-Georg Klaphake flew to Kenya. He was accompanied by Marek Senicky, an experienced metal worker and member of Lazola e.V., who was to support him during the course. Mugo and a representative of the Senior Expert Service (SES) welcomed them at the airport. They got all the machines, tools and materials they had brought from Germany through customs without any problems. What a relief to all of us! as that issue had been one of our greatest concerns.

We had decided to buy most of the machines and tools in Kenya. So the following day the team was accompanied by MKICDO board members to do some shopping in Nairobi.
They left the city after dark and by the time they got near Mugo´s place it was already past midnight. When they were in the middle of Mount Kenya forest there was a problem with one of the front wheels. They were forced to wait in the car for one hour because a scout they had sent ahead reported elephants in the forest. Finally they walked the rest of the distance and reached Mugo´s home at about 4 a.m. 

the next day - car repair

Hans-Georg´s and Marek´s first week in Kenya was spent with course preparations: plywood, sheet metal and other materials for building Lazola cookers had to be bought and worktables and shelves for the workshop to be built.

Nkanya (MKICDO treasurer), Micheni and Marek shopping

By the beginning of the second week all trainees had arrived and the course started. On Tuesday they had a special guest. The District Youth Training Officer of Maara and Meru South districts, Mrs. Rose N. Karinga, came to see the workshop and was very impressed with the ongoing activities. She suggested that the facilities should be utilized for further youth training courses and promised her support.

Marek explains a machine to the District Y. T. Officer

the trainees and their trainers with invited guests and MKICDO board members

In the first week of their training the 12 participants worked in two groups and finished building one small and one large Lazola box cooker each. In the remaining two weeks each trainee worked with one partner and by the end of the course 12 cookers had been built.

cutting sheet metal with table shears built by Marek

at the circular saw
first results - well-done!

The trainees not only learnt how to build a Lazola cooker. They also got an introduction on how to use it. You can tell by their faces that  cooking with the sun was a new experience to them. But the solar cooked rice was tasty.

rice cooked with the sun

At the end of the course the official opening of the new training centre was celebrated. Representatives of several MKICDO member groups and important persons from the area had been invited. There were speeches, dancing and plenty of food and each trainee received a certificate of successful completion of the course.

H.-G. Klaphake addressing the guests

dancing for the visitors

course participants, trainers and MKICDO board members

trainee with his course certificate

Since you should not go to Kenya only to work, Mugo had organized a trip to Meru National Park with his guests. They hired a vehicle and went on safari to see the beautiful African wildlife.


antilope and reticulated giraffe


Everybody is enjoying the safari!