Cooking in University Hostels

Bridget Nakabo from Makerere University Business Schools uses both the kerosene and gas stove. “Though I have both a gas and kerosene stove, I prefer to use gas since whenever I use kerosene my roommate sneezes because she is allergic,” she said.
08 Jul 2019 15:18
Hot plate

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David Kisakye was excited when he received his admission to Makerere University. He is expected to report to the university during the August intake when the new semester begins. 

However, Kisakye isn't sure about the hostel life he is getting into. “What is feeding like in a hostel since I am going to have to cook my own food?” he asked his elder brother.

Kisakye is yet to decide on what he will use to cook in the hostel. Different cooking appliances such as hot plates, gas and electric cookers, kerosene and charcoal stoves are used by students in hostels depending on convenience and the cost implication.   

Predominantly, students use wicks kerosene stoves.  They are fast since they produce heat with a single match stick, which can be regulated during the cooking. They also come at an affordable price.  A kerosene stove costs Shillings 20,000 on average and can be refilled with just Shillings 3500 for a liter of kerosene. 

Judith Mindra is a year two student of Makerere University and resident of Douglas Villa hostel. According to Mindira, she prefers using a kerosene stove because it is cheap and easy to use.   

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However, some of the users of Kerosene stoves cite the heat it produces and smoke as some of its major disadvantages. The other is that they produce soot, which blackens sauce pans during cooking and exposes them to health complications.  

Bridget Nakabo from Makerere University Business Schools uses both the kerosene and gas stove. “Though I have both a gas and kerosene stove, I prefer to use gas since whenever I use kerosene my roommate sneezes because she is allergic,” she said. 

Charcoal stoves are not as much used as kerosene stoves. Students around the hostels that opt for charcoal stoves commonly use those made of clay because they are energy efficient. They stock some charcoal that they use to cook. 

Christine Akisa uses a charcoal stove, which she says she finds costly since she has to spend a minimum of Shillings 3000 each day to cook. “It is expensive but it can cook all kinds of food since i can regulate the heat unlike a hot plate.” She says. 

She says charcoal stoves are convenient because they save fuel especially when cooking food like beans that take long to get ready.  Clay charcoal stoves also produce less heat compared to kerosene stoves since the clay absorbs the heat. However, charcoal stoves don’t get heated right away like kerosene stoves. 

Studies on the usage of charcoal stoves indoors shows that they emit carbon monoxide when burning, which isn’t good when inhaled. The use of gas cannot go unmentioned as the trend has so shifted from kerosene to gas stoves.  These come in varied sizes and cost. 

The bigger the size of the gas cylinder the more expensive it costs. Some gas stoves have an inbuilt lighting mechanism while some require lighting with a match stick after releasing the gas. Students who use the gas stoves say they like them because of convenience.  

Bridget Nakabo from Bitu hostel around MUBS says she partly prefers a gas stove because it beautifies the environment unlike kerosene stoves that rust after a while.     

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She also says that besides, gas stoves don’t produce a strong smell and heat the room compared to the kerosene or charcoal stoves. Students using gas cook within the confines of their rooms unlike their colleagues who use kerosene and charcoal stoves that are compelled to cook outside their rooms.  

Some of the students use electric appliances like hot plates and rice cookers to cook. These are faster as they produce heat right the moment one switches them on after plugging them into an electronic socket.

Andrew Okello, a year four student at Makerere University, says some people wrongly assume that rice cookers are only meant for preparing rice. For him it is power saving and friendly when preparing various kinds of food.  

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However, rice cookers come at a high cost, which is out of reach for many students. Some hostels like Mulumba in Banda around Kyambogo university bar students from using electric appliances because they consume a lot of electricity.

In October last year, the World Bank released over 8.4 Billion to foster adoption of cleaner and more efficient cooking technologies. The kind of fuel used around different households contributes to the level of air pollution in Uganda, which government seeks to minimize. 

A report by World Health Organization in 2018 on house hold pollution shows that each year, close to 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution resulting from inefficient cooking practices

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