Back in 2012, when we were packing up our first container to ship to Burundi for our team, we though it would be good to invest in some high quality appliances, not knowing what would be available in country. We found a vendor that sold 220v/50hz appliances for overseas military families, and bought fridges, microwaves, and washing machines. We also bought stoves, mostly gas (knowing that electricity could often be out), but some electric (knowing gas tanks could be hard to find sometimes).
We're still using those appliances. The fridge...well, the fridge would be a whole other story. But I was reflecting on the story of the stove this morning and I thought I'd share the saga, both as a glimpse of daily Burundian life as well as a microcosm for our life work here.
Part the First: Insulation and Open Flames
One of the first problems with the stove had to do with the drawer that opens beneath the oven. Since it is a gas stove, this is the broiler (not an extra storage space like the electric ovens I grew up with). One of the bolts was too tight or warped or something. This made it hard to open, and the extra force required to open it, over time, loosened other bolts. These loosened bolts ripped the door in half, exposing sheets of yellow insulation. Maybe that's not that big of deal next to a big open burner, but it made me uncomfortable. We tried a lot of little fixes without success.
One day, pondering the broken apparatus, I realized that a couple of well-placed bolts directly through the metal casing could solve the problem. Only I didn't know how to drill through metal. I tried it out with a metal bit from the team workshop, but with no success. I went and found Jason. He showed me the right drill bits to use, and generally pointed me in the right direction. The resulting fix (see yellow arrow below for the externally visible part) has been durable for several years now, and our pizzas are the better for it.