I like com­ing up with wit­ty titles too much to not in this case, but actu­al­ly it was quite an hon­or to attend and receive a plaque in recog­ni­tion of the work we hav­ing been doing with the solar ovens dur­ing the solar oven fes­ti­val today. The real shame was that Sarah couldn’t be there to receive the recog­ni­tion as well, since I think of this as her project that I have been for­tu­nate enough to help with. The event of the day was a demon­stra­tion of the solar stoves in the munic­i­pal seat of the six small­er com­mu­ni­ties that have the solar stoves — Huim­il­pan, Queré­taro. The full event name was the First Fes­ti­val of Solar Cook­ing Huim­il­pan 2012. We count­ed 65 of the 80 solar stoves, and the women from the com­mu­ni­ties had cooked every vari­ety of dish — of course includ­ing cake. Sev­er­al types of cake. I was busy tak­ing video and pic­tures, but I still man­aged to try two of the cakes. What I didn’t get to try was the cof­fee flan. Guess I will just have to make one myself. Good thing we got the recipe.

In addi­tion to prac­tic­ing our schmooz­ing skills in Span­ish, extra chal­leng­ing for two intro­verts with­out our extro­vert project leader, Micha and I were shoot­ing video of the women giv­ing us their recipes. I think we man­aged to get about 45 inter­views, and I’m very sat­is­fied with that num­ber. Most of the women were very hap­py to talk on cam­era about their cook­ing. My goal is to even­tu­al­ly assem­ble the videos for future pre­sen­ta­tions and tran­scribe the recipes for a cook­book. Explain­ing this goal helped con­vince a few of the shy­er women to allow us to inter­view them. I would have been equal­ly wary if I thought some­one was inter­view­ing me for TV. There was a real cam­era crew there, and appar­ent­ly there should be a report on the news tomor­row night.

We man­aged to make a few new con­tacts, and we were tak­en aback by the plaque. I didn’t com­plete­ly under­stand what was going on dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, so I thought that the plaque was going to stay in the town some­where. Well, that is what the oth­er, iden­ti­cal plaque is for, and the one pre­sent­ed to us was ours to take with us. Micha and I kept refer­ring to it as our cer­tifi­cate, because that is an impor­tant part of the cul­ture. Cer­tifi­cates are giv­en for almost every type of events, and so this is now the best cer­tifi­cate ever. Carved in local stone, we just have to fig­ure out what to do with it. We got a ride back to town instead of haul­ing it on the bus, and then we dropped it off at the Peace Corps office. Hope­ful­ly we can get it dis­played some­where, promi­nent­ly.

Micha made me laugh out loud and near­ly choke on the ear of corn I was eat­ing as she huffed “Fine then, I’ll just take my cer­tifi­cate and go.” I know she is strong, but I real­ly wasn’t sure she could car­ry it. I learn so much each and every day, espe­cial­ly the great com­mu­ni­ty project days. Micha and I are hop­ing to con­tin­ue the larg­er, long-term project with the com­mu­ni­ties by get­ting fund­ing for effi­cient wood-burn­ing cook­stoves. We’re in the mid­dle of writ­ing the grant pro­pos­al, and, if every­thing goes well, that phase of the project should start in July. We’re not expect­ing any prob­lems since this is such an awe­some project, but we shall see.