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27 May | An Ergonomic and Efficent Chula

The day was planned for a field visit to Surendranagar.

The day started at 4:30 AM. We left by bus to Ahmedabad at 6. A train ride to Surendranagar from Ahemdabad. The a bus ride followed to Sayla. We reached Sayla by 1:30 PM. Had lunch and rested till 4PM.

The restaurant had just shifted to a gas based system and but had not moved the wood stove away. The chula was for heavy use and thus was big.


Then the field visit commensed. We visited 5 houses in total. The details of which and information collected is detailed below:

A. Rupa Ben 1. Cow Dung and Wood 2. Bawar Wood predominantly 3. Bajra @night and Wheat @day 4. Major Smoke problem 5. No subsidy 6. Cow Dung produces more smoke and ash 7. Since the chula is kept outside, rainy seasons are tough. 8. Wrapper and paper as starters 9. No seasonal variation of food.

10. Chula made from Maida Soil

11. Utensils made from steel and earth pan

12. More blow kindling is required in rainy season


B. Mudi Ben 1. Primus used for light cooking. Eg. tea. 2. 1L kerosene - 1 week 3. Primus - slow, bad taste 4. Taste very different in case of Primus 5. Coal is expensive (Rs.200/kg) so they do not it. 6. Water to regulate, dim the flame 7. Cow dung takes more time to cook 8. The chula was made so that it was beneath the usrface of the floor, the following observations were made: a. Wind still had a very major effect on the flame. b. The space for the smoke to escape was particularly small so the combustion was incomplete. 9. Wood and cow dung were used together because - cow dung is smoky, - wood is not easily available 10. No seasonal variation of food. They consume Bajra and Milk throughout the year. 11. More wrapper is used in rainy season to burn damp wood. But it can be burned easily with a lot of blowing. 12. Blowing air to kindle the fire is very tough and causes problems in eyes and headache.

13. Chula made from both cement and soil.

14. Husk used as cow fodder is also used as starter


C. Nita Ben [4 stoves - 2 portable (fibre and metal) + 2 fixed] 1. Dung ash - black, Wood ash - white 2. Fibre Portable Chula - Rs.300 3. Metal Portable Chula - Rs.200 4. Fibre chula better. 5. Metal chula breaks ultimately in excess heat 6. Had a Y-shaped metal piece as bridge to keep the smaller utensils 7. Water collection in chula during rainy season 8. No seasonal variation of food. 9. Due to heavy winds in the area, a lot of problem to ignite and maintain the chula arises which is overcome by blocking the wind by Chaarpai (Khaat), Bed

10. Used a tool to cut wood from trees in the forest.

11. They visit the forest which is far everyday to get the wood.


D. Geeta Ben (Brick chula + Primus + Portable Metal Chula) 1. Used primus (4L kerosene/10days) 2. Kerosene (1L - Rs.45) 3. Kapaas in cotton season and bawar used in non-kapaas season 4. Don't use bawar because it has thorns and is difficult to cut which requires skill which they don't have 5. Bawar burns slowly - good as it can sustain longer and can make food faster 6. Kapaas burns very fast - bad, leaves more residue 7. Kapaas produces more smoke, more ash and is very slow in cooking 8. They had a stock of 2 months worth of wood. 9. Pressure cooker gasket (Rs. 30) melts and burns easily on chula. So they use primus instead. 10. Heavy and big utensils on brick Chula 11. Portable chula can only be used for smaller and light utesisl otherwise it bends 12. No subsidised gas 13. Rented house (700 per month) 14. No seasonal variation of food. 15. Smoke problem


E. Sawabhai/Jaya Ben 1. Cow dung, and kapaas twigs and stems + cotton + kerosene as starter 2. Fuel worth 10 days was stocked in cow dung for a 5 member family 3. They had a hole in the roof for gas escape. 4. Pour water after pulling fuel out of chula 5. More smoke is produced in kanda 6. Ash used for cleaning utensils and cow dung usd as manure 7. Used gas stove in rainy season

8. To block heavy winds, they use khaat (chaarpai) with a cloth covering in from of the stove


After the field visit, since the data collected about the seasonal variations of food and food habits of people said that there was no variation, Valjibhai was interviewed to validate the findings.


F. Valjibhai - Food habits of the people in Sayla - Morning = Bajra+Milk - Afternoon/Evening = Bajra Rotla + Seasonal Vegetables - Herd gathererers mainly rely only on rotla (bajra/juwaar) for their nutrients along with unprocessed milk from their herd. - Winter Food - Baingan Bharta + Bajra Roti + Methi Laddo - Summer Food - Butter Milk + Khichdi + Milk + Pulses (Moong, Arhar, Chane, Soyabean) + Juwaar Roti - Rainy Food - Bajra/Wheat Roti + Pulses


The trip ended at 9PM when we left for Ahmedabad.


On the foot, when we were roaming around Sayla we witnessed a number of things.

1. Abundant supply of Bawar growing everywhere around the village.

2. Neem was not easily available and it seemed they bring it over form other places.

3. There were a number of stocks of bawar collected by the villagers all around the place

bawar 1

bawar 2

bawar 3

An experiment was conducted in parallel to the visit. The experiment compared the efficiency of the 3 different types of chulas available in the lab and at Grambharthi and FAB Lab at NIF by boiling water.

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