Clay pots make a welcome comeback

The ongoing power blackouts, scorching heat and with Ramadan beginning on Tuesday, residents in Maiduguri have returned to traditional ways to keep water cool – by using clay pots.

And the vendors say business is booming.

Vendor Ahmed Kolo said he used to buy pots from people in the villages around Maiduguri. But the constant attacks by insurgents had made the villagers scared because the bandits stole the money they made from selling clay pots. Some people had even been killed by the insurgents. And now they were too scared to carry on the business.

But the blackouts and heat had forced many people in the city to return to the “old” ways and the demand for the pots had increased.

“Clay pots have been in use for centuries. They are a part of our tradition, our culture. Our forefathers used them and their forefathers used them too,” Kolo said.

Another vendor said they had to import clay pots from sellers in other states.

“The problem is that because I have to import the pots from far away, the prices have gone up. It was inevitable.”

Abba Bashir, also a vendor, said the pots were selling well, despite them costing more.

“The only alternative is to buy ice blocks from those who have generators. But that is very expensive and most people cannot afford it. So they have turned back the clock and are using clay pots to store and keep water cool,” he said.

Residents told RNI that what they really needed was for power to be restored in the city.

  • The pot-in-pot refrigerator, also known as a Zeer,is a food and water cooling device. It works by using the evaporation of water. It needs no electricity. It is made by putting a clay pot inside a larger clay pot with wet sand in between the pots and a wet cloth on top. As the water evaporates it cools the inside, letting food or water stored in the inner pot to be kept fresh for some time. It must be placed in a dry, ventilated place for the water to evaporate to the outside. Clay pots have been in use for centuries.
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