Newsletter #2
–Free Energy Makes a Good Meal
— Solar Cooking

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Solar cooking with a parabolic cookerIn this issue of the Sustainable Living in Tanzania Newsletter, I’d like to tell you about a simple and cheap technology with the potential to improve the day to day life for millions of people… solar cooking.

Why is this $8 technology so important? Because…

  • More than half the world’s population relies on wood, charcoal, dung or crop waste for their cooking and other basic energy needs. This is a heavy burden on our dwindling natural resources and air quality.
  • 1.6 million people die each year from indoor smoke inhalation- 56% are children under five.  Complications caused by smoke inhalation, such as pneumonia, kill more young children than even malaria.
  • The purchase of wood or charcoal can consume up to 25% of a family’s income. After the purchase of a solar cooker and pots, cooking is free, convenient and smoke free.
  • Solar cooking is a safe and easy way to pasteurize water or milk. It can also be used to sanitize medical supplies in settings where sanitation is difficult.

Please read on about GRA’s developments in solar cooking. If you are moved by bountiful meals, warm kitchens and loving families on this upcoming holiday, please consider donating $25 to GRA to provide a solar cooker and pots for 2 families in Tanzania so they too may share in these simple joys.

Warm wishes and Happy Thanksgiving!
Monica Marshall
Global Resource Alliance

Click here to see more benefits of solar cooking…
Click here to read the World Health Organization’s assessment of smoke inhalation…


Gathering WoodCombating Deforestation

GRA has been partnering with Solar Cookers International (SCI) since 2008 to promote solar cooking in an effort to combat deforestation, waterborne illness, childhood death and disease and fuel shortages in communities in the Mara Region of Tanzania. The environment is suffering enormously from all the trees that are cut for fuel, to the point that the Tanzanian government has deemed it illegal to cut trees and sell wood and charcoal without a permit. The deforestation is so great that the government is not even issuing permits at this time. Yet many people continue cutting trees (legally and illegally) as a way to generate some income, leaving a barren environment.
Solar cooking is very simple and inexpensive. It requires sun and time, two commodities abundant in the Tropics. During solar cooking workshops facilitated by GRA, participants learn how to cook almost any kind of food, as well as how to “pasteurize” water, using only a black pot, plastic bag and solar cooker made from cardboard and aluminum foil.
 3 Minute Video about Solar Cooking

Inspiring Support

Sometimes a generous donor describes to us her specific vision for how she would like to see her dollars put to work. We are happy to report the successful realization of one donor’s vision in September.Rose Willmann wanted to sponsor a solar cooking workshop and support the women of Nyegina and Kitenga. Not only that, but to ensure that solar cooking became a reality in the homes of all participants. One of the biggest challenges of these workshops is getting participants to put what they learn into practice. Even though GRA subsidizes solar cook kits, the purchase price is still a significant expense for many households. Over the period of time it may take to raise the necessary funds, the momentum and lessons of the workshop are often lost.To overcome this challenge, Rose graciously pledged to pay the full purchase price for a complete solar cook kit – solar cooker, plastic bag and set of black pots – for all 39 workshop participants, as well as the food to be cooked during the event and other logistical expenses.  GRA provided 3 talented instructors from our Musoma headquarters to meet village participants in Nyegina. The workshop went wonderfully, and the 39 women who attended, are now providing nutritious, smoke-free solar cooked meals to their families.
Solar Cooking at GRA
Tara’s Tanzania ReportGRA_Tara_Pic_2009_KIO

GRA’s director, Tara Blasco, just returned with GRA’s president, Lyn Hebenstriet, from their second field mission of the year. Work continues to expand in all of GRA’s programs and projects in the Mara Region – pumps were installed on all 26 new wells, GRA – TZ received a grant for a 10 acre plot to feed and train in permaculture the 75 families caring for orphans in Kinesi Village, and Musoma is now well equipped with qualified solar cooking teachers.Tara was pleased to hear that the visit from Solar Cookers International (SCI) representatives to Musoma went very well, and we expect our cooperation with SCI will grow and further spread solar cooking in Tanzania. SCI’s Director of International Program Development, Karyn Ellis, from California, and the Director of SCI Eastern Africa, Margaret Owino, taught at the second trainer of trainer’s held in September in Musoma. They lead an advanced course for more than 20 teachers with emphasis in training other members of the community in solar food preparation techniques and water pasteurization, as well as creating income generating opportunities with solar cooking for themselves.Lastly, Tara is glad to report that she is malaria free! She contracted a bad case of malaria the day before she was to teach a workshop on Jim Humble’s protocol for treating malaria with Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS). She was diagnosed only hours before and so could not cancel. Instead, she turned her illness into a teaching opportunity and self-administered the protocol during the workshop. The lab specialist who diagnosed the malaria, attended her workshop and asked her to return in the morning to see how the treatment worked. Less than 20 hours later, the specialist was shocked to find Tara’s blood to be completely free of the malaria parasite!Tara and Lyn are happy to be home and more inspired than ever… Look for our annual appeal in the mail with Lyn’s report on the year’s progress.  We could not have done it with out you!

About Us

Global Resource Alliance (GRA-USA) is an all-volunteer US 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to bringing hope, joy and abundance to communities in the Lake Victoria Region of Tanzania.  By sharing ideas, volunteers and financial resources with local, community based organizations we seek to promote natural, holistic and sustainable solutions to the challenges of poverty, malnutrition and disease. We believe that empowering local communities to address pressing social, economic and environmental challenges according to their own vision and their own creative potential is the key to lasting solutions.

100% of donations to GRA are tax deductible and will be used directly for programs and projects in the Mara Region of Tanzania.

Monica can be contacted at or by replying to this newsletter.