Sunday, February 8, 2009

How to make Coal(chabon) in 7 Easy Steps

1. Find yourself a tree that NEEDS to be cut down...please don't pick any old tree, because we have a huge deforestation problem in Haiti!

2. Get some kids really excited about hauling ridiculous amounts of branchs and leaves to the truck.

Ridiculously excited kid #2

Another ridiculously excited kid!

Loading the truck up:first of 3 loads...leaves and kids!

3. Make some kind of Joan of Arc looking pile with the bigger branches.
4. Cover it with a good thick layer of leaves.
5. Start the pile on fire...? (I kinda missed this step)
6.After 1-10 days, depending on the type and amount of wood, spread it around and let it cool. Then decide which pieces are worth cooking over and fill some sacks.

We managed to get 4 bags like this full of coal. We use about 3 bags of coal a week. A bag this size sells for about $5-8 USD. Coal is the main source of cooking fuel here in Haiti. It burns incredibly hot for a long time and there is a huge market for it here in Haiti. However, the heavy dependency on this fuel source has effectively depleted the forests of Haiti. This has resulted in poor crops and gardens as there is not sufficient rain/wind cover, as well as incredible devestation as a resut of hurricanes with nothing to block the wind and rain and stop the soil from running into the ocean. It seems to be an endles cycle as the majority of people in Haiti are too poor to be able to afford another fuel source.