As part of our Energy and Water Secure Communities programme Project 90 is working with the Msobomvu community in the Eastern Cape. (read more) One of the items that the community identified that would increase their energy security were Wonderbags. These are large cotton bags, filled with polystyrene in which you can cook your food, once it has reached boiling point on the stove. Wonderbags save you money on cooking fuel and help to reduce your carbon footprint.
Most of us at Project 90 use these bags on a regular basis at home so when Nontando, our enthusiastic volunteer, joined us to help out during her holidays, we asked her to test a Wonderbag out in her home in Langa so we could share her experiences with our readers:
“My experience with the Wonderbag has been truly amazing not only because I can cook and my food does not get burnt as usual, but mostly because energy is saved and nutrients are not lost but sealed in the pot. The steam bread that I made was brought to a boiling point on an electrical stove and immediately placed in the Wonderbag where the cooking continued for 2-3 hours longer. The advantage about the Wonderbag, is that I could even leave the house for some time and continue with my house chores, without having to check the pot minute after minute. I also experienced no over boiling meaning I didn’t have to worry about cleaning up spilled food. The other advantage about this bag is that you can even warm the food afterwards by placing the pot back in the bag, without having to use electricity again in a microwave or stove.
“What I noticed was that usually at home when we buy the R10 electricity which is about 9 units, it would last us 1 day but when I used the Wonderbag the electricity lasted up to 2 days, saving us R5 every second day – about R75 a month of savings. This is great as some days we didn’t have the money to purchase electricity. Now we don’t have to worry about power cuts while cooking, as the bag does not need any electricity.
“The one disadvantage though was the time I took to bake the bread, which was 2 hours longer than the usual time I normally take. So you need to remember to start cooking earlier than your normal time. The beauty about this bag is that it’s easy to use and to pack up. The bag is also very attractive in terms of colour and decorations- the first thing people see when they get to our house is the bag, and with what seems like confused glances and confusion, they always ask “what is this”. This is remarkably cheap and electricity- free, an item that every household should invest in. You can prepare any meal from steam bread to rice, macaroni and stews.”
Nontando Bonga – Project 90 volunteer.