Peng WuYu ( 47 ) and her husband Yan Xigang ( 48 ) are both having trouble not smiling today. The hundred Pounds that purchased the biogas tank under their farm has had a great impact on their lives. Peng WuYu tells me that they have not only got a higher income, better health and a lot more time, but the installation may even improve the chances of marriage for their two sons. How is this possible?
Peng WuYu and her husband Yan Xigang have recently got a biogas tank on their farm through the International biogas project NMS is running in China and Madagascar. It does not take long before Peng WuYu explains why she is so excited about biogas:
"It is so easy to cook quickly with biogas! Before we got the installation, cooking was complicated and time consuming, but now it is easy and quickly done "says Peng WuYu and smiles while she continues:" Also there is no smoke in the kitchen anymore - it's so refeshing ! "According to the World Health Organization ( WHO), smoke in the kitchen is responsible for 1.6 million deaths each year through pneumonia , chronic respiratory diseases and lung cancer . So it is no wonder that Mrs. Peng is excited about no longer having any smoke in the kitchen.
Waste from the toilet, the animal pen and any kitchen waste all goes into the tank under the farm. The air-tight tank transforms the biomass waste into methane. Thus, renewable energy is made. This gas is odourless and produces no smoke, and can be used for cooking and lighting. When the "mixture" has produced the gas, the sludge and slurry that comes out of the tank is now organic fertilizer of high quality.
This means that Peng WuYu and Yan man Xigang not only get gas for cooking and lighting, but also good organic fertilizer for their 2.5 acres of land. This fertilizer increases their harvest considerably, which they are both very happy about.
The couple is thankful for the money they save and the higher yields they are anticipating. It's tough to make ends meet in the countryside, especially since both sons are now in high school and education here is certainly not cheap. Peng WuYu , however, insists that her sons should go to school, as she did not complete primary school and would like to give her two sons a better future .
Last year, Peng WuYu had to go to the city for several months to earn money. She found this very challenging as she prefers to be available for her old mother on the farm and she did not like that the fields were not farmed or looked after.
After getting the biogas digester, she has more money but also a lot more time. She no longer needs to go to the city to earn money, but not having to collect wood, means that she has more time available. This means that she now can be available to her mother and her sons as well as being able to cultivate the fields- something she is very thankful for.
"Before we got biogas, I spent much of the day collecting twigs and wood for cooking. I went out 3-4 times a day and spent most of the day on cooking and picking up sticks and wood (15 to 20 kilos per day). As we now have biogas, I no longer need to collect twigs or wood and cooking is really quick and convenient " says Peng WuYu and smiles. With a lot more free time, she is now able to spend time on activities she enjoys and improve her family’s income:
"I make these traditional backpacks of straw! I sell these and get some extra income" she says excitedly before a big smile takes over her face again.
The family is proud to belong to the Tujia minority. This people group lost much of their traditional culture a long time ago. For this reason they are particularly proud of Tujia crafts. So, Mrs Peng is excited about making these traditional Tujia baskets which are used to transport everything from children to grain. In this simple way, she is keeping alive traditional Tujia culture.
Mrs Peng is clearly grateful for how biogas has made her life much easier. "Do you have any other dreams?” I wonder. "Hm …" she says quietly looking out of her window: "Yes, I hope that one day my sons may get married," she says , laughing. Curiously enough the biogas tank may in fact have a positive effect on their chances of finding a wife in the future.”
Strange but true. With China's restrictive laws on child birth coupled with a traditional preference for boys, about 122 boys are born per 100 girls in China. This means that approximately 15 % of men in China will never marry. It is especially difficult for the young men who live on a farm where the bride's life would most likely be tough and tiring. Getting a biogas tank on the farm could actually improve the sons chances of marriage.Over the past five years, NMS has made it possible for over 1,000 families in Yongshun in Hunan Province to get biogas digesters on their farms. In the next year, we want to transform the lives of many more farmers through biogas digesters in Yongshun, China.Do you want to make it possible for the neighbours of Peng WuYu to enjoy a biogas digester on their farm?
For about one hundred Pounds, you can provide a whole biogas tank for one family on the "The mountain of the Bachelors". By supporting this project, you help fight poverty, protect the environment and improve women's health. Click here to find out how you can support this project.