For a long time I’ve stayed jittery about the idea of using a jiko in my rented place East of Nairobi. Whenever I think such could be a compliment to my family’s kitchen experience I simply find it out of place. Yeah, it has been a ridiculous idea for the long I can recall.
The fuss of lighting a jiko… It’s been a sport of its own kind lovelies.
It’s such a serious matter, a nightmare to put the sense closer. From spending hours thinking and planning to having one-man meetings on this idea, it’s just a daunting experience altogether. By the way, I was nearly framing it to be a taboo.
Yet, opening up to diverse opinions from fellow city dwellers and convincingly a few friends of mine brought a new understanding about this struggle.
Essentially, when lighting a jiko in most of the apartments in Nairobi, you have to consider the following:
1. Where to light the jiko – Are you going to light the jiko within your room? (Kitchen for instance). Are you going to light the jiko outside the room? Say the balcony for instance?
2. What to use to light the jiko – what are you going to use as a lighting agent? Kerosene? Newspapers? Wood chippings? Shavings? This is important in determining whether your lighting will have smoke or smell.
3. The smoke – this is what many people detest, the smoke. Even your landlord will be very uncomfortable if he saw smoke emanating from his house. Plus you don’t want him refusing to give back your deposit under the pretence that the money will be used for repainting the room when you will finally be moving out.
4. The direction of the wind – this will determine the speed at which your jiko will light, the direction your smoke will flow (if any) and how often you will be required to add charcoal. Interesting, right?
Worthwhile, having an effective jiko and how to light it boils down to the type of jiko you have. A majority of households in Nairobi have a jiko like the one shown in the image below:
Some prefer a jiko that is all metallic with no clay in its make. That’s the old metallic jiko that we’ve grown up seeing our parents use. However, below are various disadvantages of the jiko shown above or the one that is just 100 per cent metallic:
1. It takes a lot of time to light
2. It requires a lot of charcoal to operate
3. It wastes a lot of heat that would otherwise be used for cooking
4. It takes time to cook/you cannot rely on it for an ‘urgent’ cooking
5. It emits a lot of smoke
Important to note, before even thinking of how to effectively light a jiko in an apartment in Nairobi, you must first think of the type of jiko that you have. The truth is, the jiko industry has evolved and there are numerous energy-saving jikos on the market.
Personally, I use Jikokoa Xtra, their newest product. Coming from the Nyanza region, I have a taste for fine things and when I vouch for Jikokoa Xtra, I am talking from an informed point of view. For our mutual benefit, here’s why I chose Jikokoa Xtra:
1. It does not emit the much-feared smoke. With it in the house, nobody even notices that you are heating your food using a jiko.
2. Since it does not emit smoke, it is clean, hence, ensuring a clean and healthy environment
3. It emits a lot of heat and in the process, cooks within the shortest time possible.
4. It uses very little charcoal. Can you imagine cooking githeri with just a third of a 2-kilogram tin of charcoal? That is Jikokoa Xtra for you.
You might need to keenly view the image below to know how Jikokoa Xtra looks like, just in case you’ll be dropping by your nearest shopping point soon.