Wednesday, October 19, 2011
You know those points of contention that are well known in a family to cause a row? Well in my host family, an empty tank of gas for cooking is that trigger. Buying a tank of gas costs my host family 40S/. So when the gas runs out, my host mom often has to cook with wood until my host father can buy another tank (which sometimes takes a month in time). That means that she has to start cooking at least an hour sooner, and diligently watch the fire to make sure the meal cooks. It also means that since we don't have a chimney, the smoke fills the room, and our lungs whenever its meal time. In Roger's defense, he has to wait to be paid before a new tank can be bought. In my opinion, both have reasonable arguments.
So what can I do to help? My host mom currently uses a double burner system that cooks with high gas pressure. A system she started using after the used oven they bought for their wedding (400S/.) started leaking. The double burners cooks quickly, but consumes gas at about a tank every two to three weeks (which is crazy since some PC volunteers report having had their gas tanks last for up to 8 months). I think there is something wrong with the burners or the valve, but instead of trying to fix it, I decided to take a closer look at the old oven (which was being stored in their bedroom ever since it stopped working)*.
A closer look at the older oven suggested that the tube that connects the tank to the oven was cracking, and the valve that connects to the tank had some leaky connections (both two things I felt comfortable fixing). So after two trips to Caraz and buying a tank of gas (which I took out of my rent cost), the old oven is back working, and I'm proud to report no explosions or house fires (which after the first 48 hours, if a catastrophic event would have occurred, I felt confident it could blamed on user error instead of the plumbing).
*I also feel obligated to note that the idea sharing the joys of fresh baked brownies with my host family may have provided me some additional motivation.
Here's a short video I made before going to work. Please note the nice yellow t-shirt Yordan is wearing. It's from Seeley Lake, Montana and a gift he received for his 1st birthday, which occurred on October 8th.