Her family struggled because their old stove consumed a lot of firewood
Delphine used to get stressed when she couldn’t find enough firewood. She had to look for firewood before and after school and never had enough time to relax or have fun. Finally, her problem was resolved when she learnt how to build an efficient cooking stove, known as rondereza, that uses less firewood.
When Ni Nyampinga visited 17-yearold Delphine at her home in Nyamagabe District, we found her mixing water and dirt with a hoe to make bricks for a rondereza. She was also having a lively conversation with her friend Bella, who was giving her a hand to carry the mud to where the rondereza was to be built.
Delphine explained to Ni Nyampinga that her family struggled because their old stove consumed a lot of firewood. Being the only person living with her mother, it was her job to collect firewood. “I would look for firewood in the morning and in the evening after school, and I barely had time to study.” When Delphine was 14, she heard that experts in building rondereza were going to visit her village to teach the community about its benefits and how to build one. She immediately knew this would be the solution to her problem.
When that day came, Delphine got up early and headed off to the training. When she arrived, she was shocked to learn that the training was only for adults and heads of families. Delphine was disappointed but did not give up. Instead, she asked her mother to attend. “My mum went to the training and when she came back, we practised what she had learnt and built it together,” Delphine said.
Unfortunately, their first attempt at making a rondereza did not go to plan: it immediately broke. Delphine decided to try again: “I built a new rondereza, and we’ve been using it for three years now,” she said with pride. The experience has also taught Delphine new skills. “Building a rondereza requires both mud and clay bricks so I had to learn how to make bricks as well,” she said. Delphine is happy because she doesn’t need to collect as much firewood: “I have more than enough time to revise now,” she said. The knowledge she is gaining will be useful whenever an opportunity arises.
Delphine’s mother agrees: “Cooking is much easier now because it takes less time to prepare a meal, and because Delphine isn’t spending as much time finding firewood, she is performing better at school.” Delphine was determined to share her new skills with her friends who faced the same problem. She told us that anything positive grows in value when you share it with others - something we saw Delphine demonstrate by teaching her friend Bella how to build a rondereza.
Whenever you face a problem, there are things you can do to solve it. Here are a few tips: