Monday, July 21, 2008

7/21/08 The Chineek

The Chineek
What's a Chineek? It is an electric teapot that virtually every family owns. It is of course made of sturdy plastic with a round plastic base the diameter of the teapot's base. The entire bottom of the pot itself is a heating element and using 220 volts it starts heating immediately. I can boil 2 liters of water in about 2 1/2 minutes. It is useful for many things, but for us it is primarily a source of hot, filtered water.

Let me back up a step. The tap water in Novosibirsk comes from the river. It is treated in a central plant but still contains things harmful to us westerner who are not used to them. (giardia, coliforms, heavy metals, etc.) The water looks clear, but can be harmful if taken in large quantities untreated. The Missionary Department has instructed that all apartments in our mission, and probably in all of eastern Europe and South America, to have three-stage water filters installed. One of my jobs is to see that we have these filters on hand and to encourage the Zone Leaders to see that their missionaries change them on a schedule.
Last Monday the water flow from our filtered faucet was running at a trickle, so I decided to change the first stage filter, the one for particulates (big pieces of stuff) that is changed monthly. It was a strong orange color and had an odor. I also changed the second stage, a .5 micron filter (for really tiny stuff) that is usually changed quarterly.We now have a good stream of water coming out. The third stage is activated charcoal and is changed annually.

Back to the chineek. When we wash dishes in the dishwasher, it is safe because the heat cycle kills the bugs and the heavy metals are drained in the water during the drying cycle. When we wash by hand we have to rinse the item with filtered water and we usually use the hot, filtered water from the chineek. After a while it becomes second nature.

First you wash with soap in the unfiltered tap water to remove the food. Then you pour the boiling water from the Chineek over the cleaned surfaces and try not to cook your fingers. I've tried to become more efficient with the hot Chineek water by rinsing things above other things needing rinsing and using the water several times before it cools off. This pie pan was a challenge because it gets hot faster than it gets rinsed and that can surprise you. I burned my fingers on this demonstration.

Sanitation is the key to staying healthy. That is sister Mickelsen's job, to keep the missionaries well. It is a challenge because they are always taking short-cuts that can land them in bed or in one of Novosibirsk's premier health care facilities. You don't want to get sick on your mission in Novosibirsk.

What a country


Trisha said...

It is a great thing that you are an Eagle Scout and that Mom went to Girls Camp. This should really be second nature to you both.

Shannon Simmons said...

I should send you an apron dad. You are quite domestic in the kitchen...and after your little description, I feel the need to own a Chineek...although I do have a nice stainless steel tea kettle - will that do? I used it last night for tea because it was so cold outside. Can you believe it? Middle of July and our evening temp included strong wind and cold weather. Again, good work with the Chineek. We dont want you to be sick!

LFB said...

Chineek - as you spell it comes from the Russian word (and also Chinese, I think) - "chai" which means tea - hence chainik - chaineek - chineek - means teapot.