On the ground conducting cookstoves research in Mwanza, the IDEO.org team has a day of in-context immersion, while also helping to cook a full Tanzanian meal.
Given language and cultural barriers, it’s relatively difficult to really get to know people in Tanzania in a short amount of time. To remedy this situation, our IDEO.org cookstoves team arranged to spend an entire day with one family, casually hanging out and cooking an afternoon meal. Daniel and Gaudensia welcomed us into their family of nine in the nearby town of Buhongwe. Our first stop was the market where we bought everything we needed for our feast including meat, beans, sweet potato, ugali flour, fruits and vegetables, and…. a live chicken.
When we got home, the ladies quickly got to work lighting the three charcoal stoves and cutting up the meat and vegetables. The oldest boy, Godwa, was told to slaughter the squawking chicken. Cameras ready, we watched as he cut through the chicken’s neck, drained the blood, and left it twitching in a bowl ready for plucking.
The meal took several hours to prepare. There was swapping of pots and lids, lids doubled as cutting boards, and each item including water and the chicken went through several discreet processes before it reached the table. And when it was done, three hours later, it was elaborately dished onto plates for the men and the guests and eaten out of cooking pots for women and children, and all consumed in the space of 20 minutes.
And then, when it was cleared, they lit the charcoal stove again and started preparing for dinner.
What is (or will be) the impact of your project?
By meeting a Tanzanian family where they live, cook and socialize, the IDEO.org team was able to gain new insights into how a family in Tanzania prepares, cooks and experiences a meal.