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"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse


3.22.2004

Desert Cooler 

It seems that for all of our modern technologies and conveniences, Nature often provides simple, efficient, and renewable solutions. Nigerian teacher and recipient of the Rolex Award for Enterprise, Muhammad Bah Abbah, has created a lo-tech solution to solve the problem of refrigeration in areas lacking electricity.
...the Pot-in-Pot Preservation Cooling System... A small earthenware pot is placed inside a larger one, and the space between the two is filled with moist sand. The inner pot is filled with fruit, vegetables or soft drinks; a wet cloth covers the whole thing. As water in the sand evaporates through the surface of the outer pot, it carries heat, drawing it away from the inner core. Eggplants stay fresh for 27 days, instead of the usual three. Tomatoes and peppers last for up to three weeks.
"Human scientist" Abbah has distributed over 10,000 of these devices constructed at his own cost to North Nigerian villages. The results have been very positive.
The impact of the Pot-in-Pot on individuals' lives is overwhelming. "Farmers are now able to sell on demand rather than 'rush sell' because of spoilage," says Abba, "and income levels have noticeably risen. Married women also have an important stake in the process, as they can sell food from their homes and overcome their age-old dependency on their husbands as the sole providers." In turn, and perhaps most significantly for the advancement of the female population, Abba's invention liberates girls from having to hawk food each day. Instead, they are now free to attend school, and the number of girls enrolling in village primary schools is rising.

These factors, coupled with the effect that the Pot-in-Pot has had in stemming disease and slowing the pace of the rural exodus to cities, are what, in Abba's words, "make the Pot-in-Pot a tangible and exciting solution to a severe local problem".
Personally, I want to bring a pot-in-a-pot to Burning Man this year.



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