Top 10 must haves 

Before departing for Swaziland I spent countless months searching the internet for the “perfect” packing list. The lists were completely overwhelming. I didn’t know how I would fit 27 months in 2 suitcases and 2 carry-ons…

Here is a top ten list of my favorite things!

*This list is in no particular order.*

1) Bed Canopy

This protects me from all kinds of critters – lizards, spiders, bats, mosquitos, ear wigs, snakes, you name it!

2) Solar shower

It spent 9 months in my luggage going unused. I’m not sure why it took me so long. Game changer! Hands down one of my favorite things!

3) Chacos

These shoes are so comfy and easy to wash!

4) Hydroflask 

The temperature on the inside remains inside.

5) Diva Cup

Ladies you won’t regret bringing one of these!

6) Headlamps/flashlights/rechargable batteries/solar lights 

I use these items alllll the time. I didn’t have electricity for the first two months and the rainy season always knocks my power out. 

7) External harddrive/flashdrives

To store your media!

8) Sweaters/hats/wool socks

How wrong of me to stereotype Africa and believe it doesn’t get cold. It feels like 0 degrees in the winter in Swaziland especially when there’s no heat and insulation.

8) iPhone

This is how I keep in touch with my friends + family back home.

9) Natural hair care products – Shea butter, coconut oil, essential oils, castor oil. 

10) Quick dry towels

Gardening from the ground up. 🌱

In December, PC Swaziland volunteers along with counterparts from our community, received a three day hands-on training from Peter Jensen, permagarden specialist. Peter helped us create climate-smart, nutrition focused permanent gardens!

What is it permagardening? To put it simply, it’s permanent gardening. It uses local resources to build and sustain the garden.

Patti, aka Permagarden Goddess, aka PC Volunteer, came out to my site to help me! She is so lovely!

We double dug the berms and garden beds 50 cm to allow for greater water storage and deep roots. We then added amendments such as ash (minerals), brown material – soil, dead leaves, sticks, cow manure (carbon) and green material – (nitrogen) to help improve the soil. By adding these amendments, you add more air, water, and minerals essential for plant growth and deep roots.

I love the permagarden approach. I can’t wait to grow healthy, nutritious, food year round and teach this to members in my community!

I am currently growing butternut squash, broccoli, tomatoes, and spinach. I will keep you updated on the fruits of my labor.

Akirah and I at Vickerys Seedlings!

Useful vocabulary:

Berms: boundaries around your garden. It also helps slow the water.

Swales: space between large holes (holes are also used to collect water).

Beds: where crops are planted.

Double digging: beds are dug to a depth of 40-50 cm. Amendments are spread and mixed in soil (ash, charcoal, manure, dried eggs sheels, green and brown material).
Plant spacing: use triangular spacing (using sticks are fine) to maximize bed usage.

Mulch: retains moisture for the garden bed.

Compost: is a conditioner and adds air and water to the soil. It also feeds the soil.