A major component St. Jude’s wants to add to the boarding program is community service.

Pat and Nigel, a couple from England who are volunteering to enrich Boarding, organized a representative from the Loruvani Choir to come to our school and teach our students how to make mud ovens, with his friend Venance who explained how to make them in Kiswahili.

Venance on the left

The Loruvani Choir aims to sell their music and CDs – profits made go into community service projects such as this one we are starting.

To learn more about them – click here: www.crellinsound.com/story_loruvani.html

Their recent CD: “Songs of the Maasai Steppe” can be sampled and purchased here: www.impossiblemusic.com

Why Mud Ovens?

1) Mud ovens reduce the amount of firewood and charcoal used for cooking.

-This is environmentally friendly! Less greenhouse gases are emitted.

-Char (burned leftovers) is put back into the soil: the less charcoal & firewood – the healthier the soil


-It is completely free to make, and completely free to upkeep (in African context)

-Materials used are not foreign to the local people here, hence making the project realistic and easy to grasp

The aim of our students gaining this knowledge is to build these mud ovens in their own local communities.

How to make a mud oven:

1) Gather 3 large piles of each: sand, dirt, and termite mound (cow dung can be used instead of termite mound)

2) Mix all 3 together into one pile

3) Add water into the center

4) And mix. Stepping onto the mixture is recommended

5) Pile into mounds and continue stepping and mixing

6) Once mixture is blended to the right consistency –

6) Roll into balls

7) Add a layer of the mixture to create the bottom

8) Cut banana tree stalks into two cylinders – one longer than the other

9) Place them on the base: the longer one horizontal, the shorter vertical

10) Shape and cake dirt around the cylinders

11) Once the vertical banana leaf has been covered, place a large pot to mold around

12) Continue to shape and cake dirt, ensuring the oven is 10 inches thick (it is smaller in these examples so the most of our students could partake in  making one)

13) Ovens can be smoothed and shaped into any style – as LONG as there is an opening for the firewood, and a chute for the steam to pass underneath the pots.

Where from Here?

-We want our students to divide into teams of 3, go in a village, and educate the local people to build their own.

-The goal is to have the villagers PARTICIPATE and LEARN, so that eventually, they themselves can teach their neighbors.

-Once villagers start their own, our teams can step out and move on to the next village.

Crossing our fingers, St. Jude’s could create an impact as strong, if not stronger, than an NGO.

My friend Erica, who works in Donor Relations at St. Jude’s, is aiming to make this into a Roots and Shoots project, a youth empowerment program sponsored by the Jane Goodall Foundation. The students are in charge and organize themselves, reporting to faculty on progress.

I hope you will support these student’s endeavors and the Loruvani Choir in making projects like this happen



About hanakojustice

I want to experience the world, in all aspects from food to travel to friends and awkward experiences, through writing and comedy and art - appreciating nature, and trying to be healthy; inspiring individuals, and motivating - and most importantly: Living in the Present.

One response »

  1. Rebekah Randall says:

    I shared this post with my physics 9 students who are studying energy transfer and efficiency. It was a great example, showing all the ideas we were covering in class – convection (moving steam), conduction (or in this case a lack of conduction – insulation) and radiation (from the fire). One student auggested we should make our own oven using your very well done directions but another pointed out that it would be expensive – importing banana trees and anthills would cost quite a lot. Instead we just enjoyed your pictures. It would have been cool to make one though. (-:
    Greetings to your students from mine!

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