Their hands are coated in sticky clay, their t.shirts are clinging to their backs with sweat and the air inside the small room is musty, yet it’s the massive grins on their faces that says it all.
For almost three hours, Elvis and Gustave work like trojans to build a new stove for a family. Neither of them have done it before, yet the stove begins to take shape, under the energetic support of Bosco, the local Burundian trainer.
Growing up in Burundi, both Elvis and Gustave are used to the traditional cooking stove. It uses up massive bundles of wood in a week, takes ages to get going and slowly cooks food. One family meal can take up to three hours to cook using the old method. But the new stove is something quite different.
‘This new stove will be amazing,’ laughs Gustave, ‘I can’t wait to go back to my family and build one for them. It only uses one stick of wood and you can leave a pot of water to boil overnight.’
Gustav and Elvis recently joined Tearfund’s ICS programme, working alongside UK volunteers for ten weeks. Entering their third week, the team have already learnt so much and are looking forward to helping new families construct the amazing new fuel efficient stoves.
So often as volunteers we head out to countries to see what difference we can make overseas, but what I love about the ICS programme is that it’s local volunteers in their own countries that benefit massively. While our UK volunteers will head back to their ‘lean mean grilling machines’ and speedy microwaves, our national volunteers will take their new skills back to their very own communities and begin to implement them right there and then.
Now that is great development!