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Built Under Cookers

built under cookers
    built under
  • Designed to be under worktop. Allows product to be covered by furniture door.
  • (cooker) a utensil for cooking
  • An appliance used for cooking food
  • (The Cooker) The Cooker is an album by jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan released on the Blue Note label in 1957. It was recorded on September 29, 1957 and features performances by Morgan, Pepper Adams, Bobby Timmons, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones.
  • (Cooker) person who makes crack cocaine or methamphetamine.

Burmese innovator taps traditional knowledge to feed fellow refugees and protect the earth
Burmese innovator taps traditional knowledge to feed fellow refugees and protect the earth
Refugee David Saw Wah built his own biogas converter to make cooking gas from pig manure. UNHCR / K. McKinsey / November 2006. Burmese innovator taps traditional knowledge to feed fellow refugees and protect the earth BAN MAE NAI SOI, Thailand, January 8 (UNHCR) – While the other 4,000 families in this refugee camp in north-west Thailand do their daily cooking over wasteful wood fires, David Saw Wah's family cooks two meals a day with gas piped into their kitchen. More remarkable, this luxury is entirely the result of David's own ingenuity – his family cooks with biogas produced in a tank he made, using the manure from three pigs raised on a small plant-filled plot. A few minutes in the enchanting garden of the enthusiastic 59-year-old refugee from Myanmar is all it takes to realise his brain is bursting with ideas to minimise the damage the 17,740 refugees in this camp do to the environment. There are container gardens slung from trees, vegetable crops to provide vital micro-nutrients, dense plantations of "living fences," trees to demarcate the refugees' plots while providing food. Then there's a small-scale hydropower project, a catfish farm, rabbit hutches, solar cookers and nitrogen-fixing trees surrounded by food crops in an innovative closed system. "If we don't want to forget ourselves, we should dig the earth," he says by way of explaining his motivation and his philosophy. "We have to heal the soil. If everybody takes care of one square metre, the earth will be okay." David's transformation into an organic farmer and environmental advocate began seven years ago when he was elected chairmen of four refugee camps for Karenni refugees. (A refugee since 1996, he came to Ban Mae Nai Soi three years ago.) He saw his fellow refugees languishing in enforced idleness, since the Thai government does not allow refugees to work. Basic food is supplied by the Thailand-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) of non-governmental organisations. "If everything is provided, over time you get lazy. Whether you do something or not, you still get to eat," he says. He wanted to find something for refugees to do that was both labour intensive and would improve their nutrition. A former mining and mechanical engineer who had worked at a tin and tungsten mine, David set about educating himself from Western scientific text books and traditional knowledge gleaned from Karenni elders. "You can see me as a telephone operator – I just connect traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge," he says with a self-effacing smile. This conjunction produced a project to make energy-efficient stoveless cooking briquettes from leaves and charcoal. He's trained other refugees to make the briquettes, which also contain lemongrass to repel mosquitoes as they cook food. Another project is improving women's health by encouraging the planting of drumstick plants, whose pods and leaves are rich in calcium and protein. On the hillsides of this mountain settlement, David runs his own experimental farm and demonstration garden – dashing from project to project to show off his organic plants. "I've planted more than 3,000 trees," he says. "On a 50-metre plot you can grow 350 trees; that's firewood for one family for a year." His projects are a showpiece of refugee ingenuity – and David has prepared a PowerPoint presentation to introduce his vision to high-level camp visitors. Unfortunately, his fellow refugees have not tried to emulate his example. "They want money," he says. "If you go to a Thai village, you can earn 50 baht [US$1.40] a day, but with 50 baht you cannot supply all the nutrition for your family." David argues that the same labour invested cultivating a small plot could easily feed a family. But he's encouraged that back home his fellow minority Karenni – many of whom are in hiding in the jungles of eastern Myanmar because of persecution by the military government – are adopting his ideas. One of the most popular is what David jokingly calls the "guerrilla garden" – basket containers hidden in the crook of tree branches to grow beans, pumpkins and cucumbers, out of reach of animals. At the base of the tree, taro and sweet potatoes can grow in the shade. Blending into the landscape, these guerrilla gardens don't betray to the Burmese army where the Karenni have settled. In the camp, he wants to be sure Karenni refugee children do not forget their rural roots. "We have to bring our children close to nature," says David, father of four children, ages 13 to 25. "Children must remember they are under the laws of nature. Children here have forgotten where food comes from – they say it comes from the TBBC." And he's determined to share his knowledge. David's putting the finishing touches on a handbook he plans to distribute free – in the English, Burmese, Karenni and Shan languages – to p
slammed once too often
slammed once too often
this grungy abstract is actually the front door to my flat stairwell...and i live in one of the newer and better kept (though not luxury) areas too where about half the apartments are occupied by teachers at my uni. no peasants here, apart from the family that live in their 8 sq metre convenience shop under the stairs to the net bar...still, it's as all as grungy and gritty as the worst government housing projects you'd get in developed countries (except without the social problems and vandalism). think of the most dingy backstreet loading depos you know, then add more concrete. feels fairly safe though. a few house burglaries and vendetta machete butcherings, but i don't walk around the city at night fearing a gang related kick-in or mugging, just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, like i would back in parts of scottish cities. in fact, i've only been phsically threatened once here... ...i was travelling around Jilin province this summer past. independent travel in China, as any foreigner (or Chinese...) who has tried it knows, is a thoroughly worthwhile experience, but also something of a pressure cooker in terms of stress levels. anyway, as i was making my way through the crowds outside the train station to buy an onward train ticket, a fairly large fly had suddenly flown into my eye, and still alive, had wedged itself in deep. then decided not to die. i was in a great deal of pain, near blind, and to my rescue, a bottle of water from a nearby stall was placed into my hand. without asking how much, (and thinking it'd probably be free), i hastily opened it and proceeded to try and flush the fly out. with my head on it's side, almost falling over, and pouring water all over myself, i somehow managed to ask how much the bottle of water cost. seems the guy was charging me five times the usual rate. i couldn't believe it. as the buzzing of the fly became weaker and weaker, i managed to got a quick look at him in-between blinks. i didn't see much but i saw enough to decide that he was just one of those guys you have the misfortune to bump into sometimes, whichever country you're in, a real knucklehead. i sensed possible trouble too if i kept arguing, but as i'd so far only succeeded in washing the fly into a position where, now dead - drowned in tears, it was extremely irritating rather than blindingly painful, my mind was in no mood for rationality. i gave him what i thought the water was worth but point blank refused to pay the rest, and sure enough, he squared his shoulders, puffed out his chest, got up close and tried to intimidate me with his physical bulk (pretty well built compared to most chinese guys, but lots of it was fat). unlike most people i guess, i stood firm, his heartlessness now irritating me as much as the fly, and called him an idiot, which lead to a rather heated exchange of words in front of a now sizeable audience. i don't think my chinese has ever been as fluent again. luckily, as my eyes were weeping so much i would hardly have been able to focus on any advancing fists, the high decibel tantrum and eyeball treatment seemed to work - i must have been a pretty scary sight with one eye completely bloodshot - and he backed off physically, even if he continued to demand his ridiculous sum. as i walked away i could hear others giving the guy a hard time for trying to rip off the only foreigner they'd had come to their city in the last month. whether or not they geninely cared about my misfortune, or just didn't want their city to look bad, or both, or neither, is the great chinese riddle. as always, many often conflicting motivations wrapped up in any single action. i ended up going by bus.

built under cookers
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