Haiti Solar Oven Partners will be travelling the state with its Haitian leaders Montas Joseph and Raymonde Joseph to spread the word about solar-powered ovens utilized in the poverty-stricken nation of Haiti, and to bolster potential volunteers for the cause.
Montas Joseph, Haitian director of HSOP, and Raymonde Joseph, HSOP training director, will visit 29 United Methodist churches in the North Dakota and South Dakota throughout September.
The Haitian representatives will be in Bismarck for a luncheon and informational session from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 15 at the McCabe United Methodist Church, 1030 N. Sixth St. The luncheon is free and open to the public. Freewill offerings will be accepted.
“(The Josephs) have traveled from Haiti to thank the churches and congregations for their support in the Haiti Solar Oven Partners’s cause,” said Karen Workman, HSOP advisory board member.
The Haiti Solar Oven Partners, a mission of the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church, has been producing parts for solar-powered ovens to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, in North Dakota and South Dakota since 1999.
Hundreds of volunteers craft and package solar oven parts en route to Haiti in workshops located in Volga, S.D., and Moffit.
Each solar oven costs $125. Donations from individuals and churches cover most of the costs.
Teams of volunteers also travel with HSOP to Haiti each year to work with Haitians to complete the construction of the ovens and to educate people about solar cooking under the direction of the Josephs.
Workman said the entire mission is volunteer-driven and that it’s important to thank participating congregations and churches, and to appeal to donors or people who want to support the project.
The ovens, which can reach an interior temperature of 360 to 370 degrees, can be used for cooking, baking, purifying water and pasteurizing milk. They prove to be a valuable and environmentally friendly home appliance in a nation plagued by poverty and extensive deforestation, largely due to the widespread use of charcoal as a fuel source.
If the weather permits, Raymonde Joseph will give a solar cooking presentation to volunteers at a workshop in Moffit Sept. 14.
HSOP has shipped about 7,000 ovens over its 14 years as a mission. It is shipping approximately 1,000 solar ovens annually. However, because of increasing demand and acceptance of solar-powered cooking, HSOP’s partners in Haiti have asked the project to double this year’s shipment to 2,280 ovens.
HSOP is experiencing an “expansion phase,” Workman said, and preparing itself by recruiting more volunteers to meet the growing demand for solar ovens.
The Josephs will be “calling for volunteers,” Workman said. “The emphasis (of the mission) right now is doubling the number of ovens,” produced by the Dakota-based mission.
Workman said a shipment of 1,140 ovens went out to Haiti in mid-July, and the mission plans to have another batch shipped by December.
“We are really, really trying to meet this year’s goal of 2,280 solar ovens,” she said.
For more information on the luncheon in Bismarck, contact Karen Workman at 701-250-9379. For more information on the Haiti Solar Oven Partners’ cause, contact the director Rick Jost at 605-692-3391 or visit www.haitisolarovens.org.