Bush camping is one of the greatest pleasures of living in Kenya – only if you have the right equipment. On a recent hastily planned trip to Lake Magadi hot springs we discovered too late that we’d forgotten the jiko (charcoal cooking stove). Stopping in Magadi town which serves only one industry, the Magadi Soda Company, we had one made for us right there and then in a very active jua kali workshop.
I always wondered where the metal for jiko’s came from – In this the many discarded gas cylinders are chopped into segments to make up the body of the jiko.
There seems to be no power shortage here, a mess of electric cables and metal and wooden waste remnants from the soda company is an active business for about 20 artisans making furniture, gates, and jikos for the staff of the soda company.
A ten minute job turned out into a one hour event and a thousand shillings later ($20) we take off proudly with our extremely heavy stove. That’s when we discover that there is no charcoal to be had in this part of the world anyway. We ended up with a 3 stone fire.
At dinner time we realized that we’d forgotten most of the food anyway (camping note to Paula: don’t believe him when he says “I already put it in the car” ).
Nevertheless, the hot springs were fabulous.
The Jiko came home and has not yet been used – and thinking about it now … should I be worrying about cooking on something made from gas cylinders? Is it just iron or could there be lead in this?