Monday in a Picture – Operation Smell Good

Bathing is super important. Work hard. Play hard. Get smelly. Bathe and smell better. During my first six months in Swaziland, I took bucket baths. For those of you who may be wondering what a bucket bath is, worry not. Boiled water is mixed with cool water in a bucket or small basin. I stand in a large basin and use the warm water from the bucket to wash myself. Just add a washcloth and soap. 

While bucket baths get the job done, they can be messy and leave water on the floor outside of the basin. I knew that there must be a better way. While in the PCV lounge, I saw a solar shower in the free box. I decided to grab it. After trying to figure out how to rig it, I finally decided on a setup. Two concrete nails hold up the solar shower. Four tree branches are suspended from the rafters and tied together to make a shower stall frame. Used flour sacks maneuvered around the frame direct water into the basin. 

With this setup, I use less water and have less cleanup. Also, bucket showers take less time than bucket baths. 

Be kind to yourself. 

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​Monday in a Picture – Build Your Own Bookshelf 

When I moved into my home here in Swaziland, it was a blank canvas. There was no furniture. There were empty walls. It was an invitation to create. 

After settling in to my home with a bed and homemade closet, it was time to tackle the next challenge. Where do I store all of the notebooks, manuals, and other random books that I’ve acquired since beginning my service? Thankfully, I rid myself of my book collection before leaving DC. Furniture can be expensive, especially when factoring in transportation costs. Building my closet provided me with the confidence and inspiration to take on another project: my bookshelf. 

I had some five empty soda bottles, thin rope, cement nails, zip ties, and duct tape. In my first attempt, I wrapped the bottles with the duct tape. Then, I tied the rope onto the ends of the bottles and wrapped the rope around the cement nails to hold it up. This setup wasn’t the best for bearing heavy loads. In my second attempt, I pushed all air out of the bottles and poked holes along the sides of the crushed bottles. Then, I zip tied the crushed bottles together and tied rope to the zip ties on the end. Finally, I wrapped the rope around the cement nails. This setup has been great for bearing the load of books. 

Be kind to yourself. 

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