On Wednesday, after my morning class and lunch, Jeff and I joined by Yuka (a Japanese volunteer that we recently met) bicycled out to Erin‘s post in Kolli Agbame. Erin is our post mate. She is in a village outside of Houègbo. It took us about twenty minutes to bike there. We were going because Erin, who works at the UVS (Unite villageois de sante)… heath center has been busy planning a big fete for the International Women’s Day on March 8th. To get ready for it she wanted to make a foyer ameliorer or mud stove for her health center. Most people in Benin still cook using wood or charcoal as fuel. A mud stove burns fuel more efficiently because it can hold in heat. And since it is a walled in stove, it is also safer around little children who could accidentally fall into a fire. Making the mud stove was a lot of fun! It reminded me of how much I use to love playing with mud as a child. I liked to make mud pies… although I never ate them…really! First we gathered a huge pile of red dirt, one small basin at a time. The petites (children) were better at scooping the dirt out then us grown ups! We mixed in some crushed up dried leaves and grass. Then we added water. Here comes the fun part… we took off our shoes and mashed it all together to make mud by stomping around. The kids that gathered around loved watching us three girls smooshed the mud around with our feet. Then we got one boy, Roland, to join in and soon there was a gaggle of children playing in the mud. Once we had the right consistency we formed the mud into balls that we slapped onto our three mud bricks to form a structure. When it was big enough we put the big pot on the walls of the stove and added more mud around it. When the stove was big enough, we gently pulled out the pot. Voila about two hours later we had a stove. Of course, it was all wet and muddy. Now we just have to be patient and let it dry out. Hopefully it doesn’t rain before Erin‘s party on Saturday!