by Marzia Garin, former Education and Youth Coordinator, Madagascar
In mid-November, the children at Saturday School had a very special guest: the Swiss NGO ADES (The Association for the Development of Solar Energy). ADES travelled down to Andavadoaka to teach Saturday School and also deliver an exciting gift – a solar oven! They taught the children about deforestation and the importance of protecting their environment, and tied the lesson into using solar ovens instead of precious forest resources such as mangroves charcoal. They even handed out books to the eager children about the sun’s role in sustaining energy and life.
Although the lesson captivated the children’s attention, as usual, the highlight of the day was yet to come. ADES didn’t just drop off a solar oven, they actually taught the children how to use it. Around 50 eager children gathered around the ADES representatives as he explained how exactly to bake a cake, or “pain sucré”. Luckily, there was enough for everyone to have a taste!
We combined 1 kilo of flour, 80 g of butter, 8 small spoons of yeast, 8 large spoons of sugar, 1 small spoon of salt and 2 eggs. We also used condensed milk from a can mixed with warm water as a substitute for natural milk, which is nearly impossible to find in remote. We ended up with a solid dough mixture after stirring together all of the ingredients, and left it to rise in the open air for about 20 minutes. Next, the dough was divided into four parts, and groups of children were assigned to braid each pile of dough into a nice presentation.
After that, we put the 4 braids into the solar oven, anxious to see if we would actually be able to eat our creation. As cooking those loaves takes a long time (about two hours!), everyone went home to wait until the cooking was complete and convened around 12 o’ clock to see the final product. Luckily, and much to our surprise the cakes turned out to be so delicious and very sweet. This was truly a test of patience for the Saturday School students, but definitely one that paid off!
We owe a big thank you to the ADES team for teaching us so many things and we look forward to their continued monthly lessons about the sun and how we can use it to benefit ourselves and the environment.