The Plastic Kettle: running water where you need it

What was the most useful thing to you during this year’s wind storm?  For me, it’s a plastic kettle I brought home from Chad on my last trip there.

In Chad, internal plumbing in a rented home can be a big hassle.  I have seen faucets in bedrooms, but none in the kitchen or bathroom.  Some faucets are a few feet above the ground, perfect for filling up a bucket!  I have also seen them well above my head, too high for me to reach.

How do you get water from strange places to where you need it most?

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How to Keep a Chadian Water Cooler Cold

In the desert land of Chad, there is nothing more refreshing than a cold drink of water. But where could you find it at home, in the market or a business where electricity is so scarce? If I were you, I would head straight for the nearest water pot.

The water pot has its origins in ancient Egyptian and Greek societies. But as people began to use electricity for refrigeration, it fell into disuse. Not so in Chad, where clay pot manufacturing is still one of the most successful artisan businesses.

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How to reheat leftovers without electricity

In the Chad Innovations category of our website, we discuss practical solutions to the challenges of living in Chad.  By living in a place where life doesn’t work the way we are used to, we were forced to become innovators and inventors of new solutions.  One of the first problems I had to solve while there was to figure out how to reheat food without electricity.

Laura at does not use a microwave because… well, it’s a lifestyle choice.  But for us, living in Chad made it impossible.

If you have regular electricity in your home in Chad, then you have been blessed to own generator or a solar electric system.  All it would take to shut your system down forever is to plug a 100 Watt incandescent bulb into the inverter, and turn it on.  In such a case, can you imagine what damage an electric stove, or even a toaster oven would cause from the draw it produces?

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Homemade yogurt and cottage cheese, Chadian-style!

My work involves a LOT of desktop publishing work and producing literacy materials in different languages. Such work seems like it is never done. The more you get done, the more you think you should have done. So the new tasks of preparing the guesthouse for visitors and preparing foods that are hard to find here from the raw ingredients have been a lot of fun, because, when you are done preparing them, your work is over, and the enjoyment can last a long time.

One of these enjoyable cooking tasks is making our own yogurt. We make it by the pot-ful, then turn a portion of it into dips/spreads from Mulberry Downeast, and can also make cottage cheese with another part of it (see the recipe below).

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