Green Prophet welcomes the first post of our new Palestinian writer Rami Almeghari. A contributor to The Electronic Intifada, IMEMC.org, and Free Speech Radio News, Rami is also a former senior English translator and editor-in-chief of the international press center of the Gaza-based Palestinian Information Service.
We first found Rami through a story he’d written about a new solar oven project in Gaza, where times of adversity have led to creative “solar” solutions that also happen to be green. “Don’t you know that life is called ‘green and sweet,’ according to God’s messenger, so improving the environment can make a change!” writes Rami.
Today is Rami’s first Green Prophet story. He introduces us to Abu Abdallah (pictured above by his oven) who has, as a response to Israel’s fuel restrictions to Gaza, developed a creative and “cleaner” oven used by Gazans some 50 years ago:
Due to lack of cooking gas in the Strip for the past three weeks, where Abu Abdallah and 1.5 million others live, this Palestinian man (who used to work as a carpenter in Israel before the border closure policy against Gaza in 2000 began) collected some used water small pipes, a vessel and a second-hand gas canister, in order to roast bread for his 12-member family.
“This oven is an old-style way of cooking,” says Abu Abdallah. “I recall that my family used such an oven about 50 years ago. But now as you see, I am forced to resort to this old oven, in order to cope with the lack of cooking gas,” the 57 year-old man from the Maghazi refugee camp, tells Green Prophet.
About the making of such an oven, Abu Abdallah explained that the material is simple and is easily found: “Three-meter-long used water pipes, an iron stove and an iron vessel. All you need is to pour a gasoline in the vessel, where there is a filter, then the gasoline runs into the pipes, reaching the stove,” explains Abu Abdallah.
Burns less fuel than other ovens
Abu Abdallah further added that such an oven consumes much less fuel than the cooking gas canisters, which are now scarce since the border closures. “You can cook, roast breads or make any other meal, using such an oven,” says Abu Abdallah. “All you need is about 5 gallons of gasoline every month.”
Amidst the scarcity of gas, which is needed badly nowadays, Abu Abdallah maintained that so far 5 different people have asked him to design his improvised oven for them. Most of the inquiries come from local restaurant owners or peanut toasters.
For the past few weeks, Gaza residents lack many essential supplies including food, medicine and other important items, like fuel, cooking gas and even electricity. All this has been a repercussion of an ongoing Israeli closure of Gaza’s crossings.
Mohammad Hammad is another Gaza resident who is now cooking on alternative appliances, using a wood stove for the past couple of months, due to the lack of gas. Mohammad who is 30, lives with 15 family members. “Even the wood stove is no longer usable,” he says. “You know why? Because there is no wood entering Gaza because of the closure of crossings. What I can say, we are running a very strict daily life.”
For more green news from Gaza, see:
Solar Cooking Ovens, Another Eco-Solution From the Gaza Strip
Electric Cars In Gaza
Natural Gas Alternative For The Middle East