Rich Galen

And, finally, they constructed a small hut with pieces of charcoal trapped between two rows of chicken wire. The structure was about eight feet by six feet by six feet high. They then used a different cistern to drip water along the top of the charcoal "walls" which evaporated on the way down, providing cool storage for their harvested vegetables.

They harvest at night - it's too hot to do it during the hours when the sun is highest - and the largest amount of spoilage occurs in the hours between harvest and the crops being trucked to the local for sale.

By the way, there is no running water and no electricity in the village. However, this contraption was coupled with a cold storage locker in the town which used an single air conditioner to produce, in effect, a refrigerator in which the crops could be stored for two or three days.

The effect of all this work was to increase the earnings of villagers dramatically. A kilo of tomatoes went from about 30 cents to the local equivalent of a dollar.

We asked a farmer what, if any effect, the increase in earnings had on his life. He told us that he and his family no longer had to wait for the evening meal to eat. With this new-found wealth they could have a meal at mid-day.

They could now afford … lunch.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at