One week has passed since we arrived back in Swaziland from our Permaculture Design Course. Six weeks remain before we head to the States (more later on that). With prospects of too much garden work, too many people to visit, three days a week at the hospital, plus starting some permaculture practices at home (so I’ve got something to play with and show folks), and Sean already having his time squelched up in Maseni, how was I going to squeeze this all in? Whew?!? I mean, I’ve got tons of ideas and need 5 of me to even start thinking about what to do.
A few journal entries, a trip to Manzini, and lying awake at 4:30 one morning: a plan.
What if I focus on the garden with Glorious, our garden a home, and pour myself into the new mom I’m doula-ing for?!?
The shop garden has seen better days and needs some serious planting. Plus, I can accomplish a bulk of the work with Glorious before leaving, so she can just water and eat. (She said, “We must have good food to eat in December, so we must plant now!”)
Sean’s tied up in. Maseni, so he won’t care if I spear-head some changes there. Additionally, our 4 American visitors next week can enjoy the changes. Glorious developed some ideas of what work they can do to help there.
Home Garden & Permie Principles
Six weeks is just enough time to start our chicken mandala (just wait folks. Prepare to be amazed!!), that the caregiver-while-I’m-away will love better than our current set up. Plus those six chickens will get the soil ready for planting while I’m chilling in the States.
I can fairly cheaply construct a shade house/nursery (with Sean’s help), and begin a rotation there. Anything I plant, the neighbors and chickens will eat or it will go to seed, which I’ll harvest upon my arrival in January!
Plus, I’ll churn out as many rounds if 18-day compost the my little fork and I can handle. Limited only by my ingenuity in finding & ‘harvesting’, browns and greens.
As a piece of my first-year-end-reflections, I spent time analyzing, listening to The Lord, dreaming for the future and critiquing the work at RFM (the Waiting House), and one-on-one work with moms as their doula.
I knew most of these revelations already , but taking time to slow down emphasized how some areas call for change. In short, my time with the awesome gals at the WH is unsustainable, especially to try and doula for those women. They come from all over the country, so I struggle to complete postpartum visits and a long-term relationship is therefore unrealistic. I’ve wrestled with how to say “no” in being unable to help even more than one mom at a time. (Otherwise, I could work the nightshirt on baby watch for about 100 hours a week with no let-up!). However, the biggest reason is that it’s outside my immediate community. It’s like keeping your milking cow on the far end if your property- you waste time, energy, even money (in fencing,water, etc) trying to get to the cow everyday. Instead, if you keep your milking cow outside your backdoor, you keep it all real close and might actually milk her everyday, not wasting your precious time, energy, or funds.
Such is this idea. Keep my focus close- Maseni (2 miles), my house, the shop. Sean focuses his energy in Maseni, so we can join efforts in who we know, how we get there, and what we do there. I will meet more and more pregnant ladies out my back door, and be set up for more long-term sustained relationships because of our proximity and my better use of time (less travel time!)
Still to resolve is how frequently I will visit RFM. There is still lots of education to do, so I’m pursuing midwifery students from the campus there who expressed a desire to teach and serve at the Waiting House. I dream of encouraging them to spend an hour/week hanging out with the waiting moms. It’s in the students’ backyard, so again, logical, time-saving effort. 🙂
Also in perfect timing, one other mom found me who is due before I leave in November. With my readjusted schedule, I will spend more time prepping her and me for her birth, plus praying for her. Prayer is an important piece of my life with pregnant women, yet one I too easily neglect for the sake of “doing something.”
Can you tell I’m slightly excited?? Don’t you want to see how flawlessly my plan comes together?? 😉 me too. Except we mustn’t hold our breath, or the plan too tightly. They’re fun ideas, ones birthed out of a spirit of seeking the way of Jesus, but I shan’t worship them. No no. Encourage them with enthusiasm and work, but surrender the fruit to God and enjoy a bit of time to watch the goodness flourish!
How Folks in the States Can Become Involved
Seeds. Simply heritage, heirloom, and saved-from-your-garden seed. I can get non-GMOed, and nontreated seeds out of South Africa, which is technically closer than the USA. BUT then you wouldn’t get to share with us, now would you? 😉 right now, we have a somewhat previously-hoarded stock of quality seeds from SA, but I’m aiming for abundance of quality seed.
What to share:
Any seeds. We’re in a HOT climate, so maybe not apple seeds, but tons can grow here in our year-round season!
Of real coveted value are: heirloom anything, including tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, and greens, but we love it all. Flower & herb seeds rock too- especially ones with medicinal properties.
Leftover seed from this year’s planting, saved seeds, a few snatched from your spring seed batch (you early-planner, you!), or something special.
We’ll plant, grow, love and tend your seeds. Then save them, repeat the process, while scheming how to creatively and harmlessly share/sell/trade these rocking seed with our Swazi pals.
Now that I’ve convinced you, the last step:
Mail seeds to:
C/o The Dickens
4906 Hawkins Rd
New Waterford, OH 44445
Kindly include: Labels (so we know what’s what); any special tips or tricks you’ve learned; a favorite recipe OR how to use the herb/medicinal flowers; and an email address if we don’t already have one for you.
If you live in SC or OH, plan to see us face-to-face for a delivery.
Lastly, for real, the end. Thanks!! Just your positive vibes comic with those seeds mean much to us already and creatively meet a need our home has.