HOW TO USE AN UPESI STOVE
The Upesi stove is designed for household use and is suitable for both large and small families. Although
many people think that it is too small for large families using big cooking pots, a bigger stove would be less
efficient. It is not different from the three-stone fire in the way that it is used, and all the common types of
cooking pots in Kenya fit on it.
The Upesi is designed as a wood-burning stove, and it works best with dry firewood. It uses less firewood
than the three-stone fire. You only need two or three sticks of wood. If you use too much wood you may
block the door of the stove so air will not reach the fire, making the fire smoky. If the fire is too big, you
will be wasting fuel and you may bum the food.
There are some things you can do to use your stove more efficiently. You should:
• use small sticks of dry wood
• use lids on pots
• simmer, rather than boil, food
• soak beans or other pulses before cooking
• cut food into small pieces so that they cook faster
• put out the fire when you have finished cooking and save the remaining fuel. (Do not throw water
on it as this may crack the stove)
• after putting out the fire, put a pot of water on the stove to heat. This water could be used for
In addition to wood, other common fuels such as maize cobs and stalks, can be used with the Upesi. Do
not use it to bum charcoal as it will be very inefficient.
A well-made stove should last for several years once it is installed in the kitchen. The liner should be
treated with care, like any pottery item. If the liner cracks after it has been installed, it can still be used.
Remember that the whole stove needs maintenance. It should be re-smeared regularly before the mud
surround cracks or crumbles. If the mud surround does crack, you can repair it by wetting the area with a
little water, cutting open the crack and filling it with small stones and more of the mud mixture. Then re-
smear the whole stove. The stove can also be moved and reinstalled in a new kitchen if required.