Peace Corps Cribs: Swazi Edition


For some, the word “hut” is synonymous with a round, single room house that is hand crafted from mud and sticks, and topped with a thatch roof. In Swaziland, you will find these rondavals alongside modern huts made from cinder blocks. I am fortunate to reside in the latter, a large two-room hut with plenty of room for activities.  I’m still settling in, and need to hang more art (and buy a few chairs), but I feel very comfortable in my new home. Let me show you my crib!


This is the entrance, and one of the three windows. This area is my water station where all the water filtration magic happens. I fetch water from a large tank on my homestead. Below the window is my table, which is a large PC-issued water barrel with a piece of wood (that I begged for at the hardware store in town, it was not initially for saleÖ) on top. This table is where I do most things, like preparing food or washing my face. The collection of colorful paper making up the big heart next to my door may be familiar to some of you. At my going away party, I asked all the attendees to write a piece of advice or note of encouragement on the paper, then I mailed it to myself. I then posted all the wonderful words of my friends on my wall, and love reading it every time I pass through the door or get some water.


Moving around the room to the eastern wall are the PC-issued trunks that I use as benches, my  dishwashing area, and my halloween costume hanging next to the window. I was a slice of pizza. I’m very proud of that costume because I designed it to be collapsible, so I could transport it on a khumbi easily, and I succeeded. It was pretty cheesy.


On the southern wall is my kitchen area. The far right is my handigas leading to my gas stoven (hidden below the fabric). I also prioritized purchasing a stoven (stove/oven combo) because baking decadent pastries keeps me sane. I “built” the shelf that my dishes and veggies are resting on by placing two boards across the stoven box and a bucket. According to my make, covering it with fabric to hide the misc. pots and pans makes it very “lookable”, I agree.


Next to my makeshift shelf is my pantry, which is actually just a pallet with nothing done to it. I have dubbed myself the spice queen of shiselweni! Sometimes volunteers can find really great deals on household items when a group is COSing, as I did with the spices. When I first moved in, the chalkboard wall was a bare cream. I splurged on some chalkboard paint, and being able to quickly write out lists or recipes is super handy. My bosisi and bobhuti also enjoy hanging out and doing self-assigned homework on the chalk board, like multiplication tables or english compositions.


Now we are entering my bedroom/bathroom/library/closet! Following the southern wall, you can see my catch-all/bookshelf and my shrine to my family & friends back home.

Before I posted the collage on the wall, I had a hammock hanging from the rafters. One day, shortly after moving in, I grabbed a few cookies and lowered myself onto the hammock. To my shock, after a loud crack, my bum hit the floor. Yes, my hammock broke the one time I sat on it with cookies in hand. As I laid on the floor, contemplating the irony, I checked myself for injuries…. Only after finishing the cookies. .


Taking up most of the room is my big comfy bed. Since childhood, I’ve thought canopy beds are really neat, and now I have one! Seeing the bugs collected in the top makes me extremely thankful for my netting. Next to my bed is my “bathroom”, or two buckets. One for bathing, one is a toilet. It took me a solid three months of living here before I was comfortable pooping in a bucket, but now I’ll probably never go back to a toilet (just kidding).


Lastly, my closet! Pretty self explanatory. Find a stick (or bribe your bobhuti with candy to find one for you), attach it to the ceiling rafter with p-cord. Purchase hangers, and enjoy your new closet! Not pictured is my giant pile of dirty clothes, because hand washing is difficult.


Thanks for checking out my spot. It is very basic, but it is mine! This is my view looking out my front door.

I hope to have some visitors soon. I had the pleasure of visiting my friend Heather waaaaaaay up in northern Swaziland, it was really neat to visit another volunteer’s home and family. I am also hoarding my care package savory foods to treat whoever visits with a decadent meal!



4 thoughts on “Peace Corps Cribs: Swazi Edition

  1. love, love, love how you have conformed to a basic life style. you look so happy. i am very proud of you. love you, aunt patty and uncle dale. if you need something just let us know and perhaps we can help. you look like you are just doing great. maybe a portable clothes washer that is just for these type of living conditions…give me an address and Christmas may come early.


  2. I love getting to see you and get these fun insights to your life in Swaziland. You totally nailed it on the pizza costume.


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