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 Newsletter No.04 July 2004

 Dear friends,

4-1 It's wonderful to serve people with the Sun. During a conference in Thailand we experienced a lot of interest in solar cooking. Even Thai government officials were excited and asked questions like “why it was not established in Thailand yet?”. There is a whole field open to provide solar cookers in all provinces in this country. We felt overwhelmed and also helpless because we are not able to response to this request. If there were only a few people in Thailand who had a vision for solar cooking, a whole country lies open for them. There is a need for solar workers! The past few months has been very excited for us in Vietnam. We would like to tell you more in this letter.

International day of Environment

May-be you did not know but June 5th was the International Day of Environment. We decided to celebrate this day with a demonstration in solar cooking in front of a People’s Committee building in Binh Minh village. Our staff asked 50 participants of our solar cooking course to cook with there newly provided solar cookers. We also added five parabolic solar cookers for frying. It was a whole day of setting up, going to the market, preparing the dishes for cooking, waiting and eating. At the beginning the parabolic solar cookers caught a lot of attention when people could see and smell the cooked food, while the normal cookers are just sitting in the sun without any excitement. It was the first time that we used the parabolic cookers in public and people were standing in disbelieve when a piece of paper burned in 30 sec.
When we opened the 50 other solar cookers the people changed their mind, because they were able to see and smell the cooked dishes in the solar cookers too. And after we ate with 100 people (young and old) there was no doubt anymore that it was possible to cook with the sun.
A few days before a film crew passed our house while our staff were cooking with the cookers. This was so new for them that they made a short film and a few days later we were on local and later on national television. Free advertisement. The environment day was a great success and an also encouragement for our staff. Here are some pictures:

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                    Solar Serve staff            10 parabolic and 50 solar cookers     Paper burns in 30 seconds

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          A large pot of beans for cooking            Fried (grilled) fish                        Fried (grilled) duck

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          Time to open the solar cookers          Also men were cooking                   Checking the food

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           Delicious solar cooked dishes      Enjoying there first solar meal   Women’s Union thanked our staff

Minority group Katu

4-6Last month we transferred 30 solar cookers to the mountains near Danang to help the Katu, an ethnic minority group. The Katu people were headhunters before, but now live and work in peace. Every day they work in the forest, but we managed to arrange a time with them. The Katu people eat, live and behave differently, so it was a challenge for our staff to adopt their lifestyle. But it turned out well and our staff felt in love with them. The people were very simple and friendly and loved cooking with the sun.
When our staff were teaching them, another film crew were making a documentary about the Katu working in the field. They could not find them, because they were cooking with their solar cookers. When the film crew found out and saw what they were doing, they became so excited and decided to make a documentary about this “new” idea. It will be shown on Danang television soon. It helped our staff to understand that what they are doing is very valuable. Sometimes people look down on them. The solar cookers are not high tech. Vietnam is a poor country and people think that high technology shows development. But we know better! The adoption of solar energy will help them a lot and even the environment will change.
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Solar beach demonstration

After a few days working with the Ka Tu people two staff members came down to Danang. Solar Serve was responsible to host a group of volunteers working in Vietnam. We cooked a solar lunch on the beach, and it was good for them to see our newly made parabolic solar cooker. Till now we have made 10 of them and we are trying to find ways how we can practically use them.
When we finished our solar lunch a professor from a University of Sweden saw our staff putting the cookers away. He was a guest in the hotel but works for the ministry of agriculture in Hanoi. He became very excited when he saw the cookers. He made it very clear to us that he wanted to use them in the north for his project. If it works well he will contact us for further co-operation. We had already made a purpose for those cookers, but we decided to help the professor. The next day he had already arranged transport. He was very thankful and called and mailed us a few days later to thank us again. Our staff was very excited that a foreigner, who works with the Vietnamese government, appreciated their cookers. We hope we can serve more people in Vietnam like this.

A time to reflect

At the end of this Summer we would like to have a time together with our staff. It will help us to understand our purpose and goal in helping the poor and needy. Last year we had a small group, but this year we have more staff. We need the input of all, so that we can work hand in hand together. It is a privilege to serve the poor people and we need to encourage each other to keep that always in mind. This time together will be a great opportunity to share with each other the wonderful things of the last few months. May-be small for you, but for us it was great!

Again keep in touch

This letter was written for your information. Please remember us. We can’t do this work alone. We need you to hold our hands up. Please keep in touch while we are all serving in the presence of the Sun.
Greetings,
Solar Serve team

Called to Serve

For more information write to: solarserve@yahoo.com