So my husband and I and our two little girls are currently living in a tiny village in West Africa. And these five things, small though they are, have made a big difference for us.


1 d-light Solar lights. We love the lantern and the disk lights. These are seriously awesome. We recharge them every day in the sun, and then we have about four to six hours of light from them at night. They are of great quality and last for years.


2. Sawyer water filter. This is a huge convenience. It attaches to any bucket and doesn't use electricity. You can clean it so it will last indefinitely. These filters come in various sizes, some don't and others do filter viruses. This system has been wonderful for us in reducing our digestive troubles.


3. A sleeper tent for my baby. Mine was purchased in Africa but you can find similar ones online. Basically it's a little pop-up net tent that zips up, and can be folded up to the size of a large dinner plate. SO much more convenient than a heavy pack & play! It doubles as a mosquito net, eliminating the need for a loose net which can be pulled into the crib and become a choking hazard. You can use it anywhere - nap outside if it's too hot inside. We travel with limited luggage a good bit and I love being able to put my baby down in a safe place, wherever we are.


4. The Village Medical Manual by Mary Vanderkooi, MD. These books are accompanied by a short course in tropical medicine (MMI) offered by Equip Intl. My husband took the course and we would highly recommend it. But even if you can't, the books are still a must-have. Obviously, we are not doctors. But the reality of life here is that often, medical care is far away or of doubtful quality. These books have literally saved my life. Also, it's wonderful to be able to double-check medicines, dosages, and procedures. Very self-explanatory. Highly recommended.


5. This last one is purely for mommy's comfort. We live in a hot climate and flip flops is where it's at. I used to wear just anything without a problem but pregnancies changed that to where my back and feet will be sore if i don't wear supportive shoes. Before we moved over this time, i was on a mission to find some sandals that would be comfortable, supportive, and also not too expensive and last a long time... (because let's face it, few of us tckmoms have trouble with having more money than we need, aye?) Well, I've found my answer in these Crocs Women's Kadee flipflops. They are super comfortable and I've worn them non-stop for six months and they still look practically new. I much prefer them over something like leather Birkenstocks because the mud, dirt and sweat they have to deal with here can ruin them quickly. I had Birkenstock brand plastic flip flops once but they wore out fast. So, Crocs flipflops is where it's at for me! Watch for sales on the website - I bought mine for just $13.99.

Do you have any items you would recommend for living in the bush?

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  • Hurray for Sawyer filters! Two big advantages they have are that they're so small and light to bring along or have sent to wherever you are, and that they filter the water so quickly...if you get behind in filtering drinking water, it's not hard to catch up again.
    I second the Village Medical Manuals, too. I haven't yet been able take the MMI course, but I've turned to the manuals many times and consider them a must-have when medical help is unavailable, limited, or unreliable.

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  • Guest - Guest-Anonymous

    Valuable assets! We have the Sawyer water filter as well, and took the course at MMI, and so of course have the manual as well. Very good book to have on hand.

    I thought the sleeper tent looks interesting...I had a question. You mentioned it saving the need for a net, but does it not allow for the baby to roll against the side and get bitten? Or maybe its just for teeny ones who still stay put?

    I would add one more thing to that list...and maybe the times are advanced enough that every lady already uses these =), but I would not dream of being without this (even if I don't live in the bush.). That's a Diva cup. SO SO much nicer and cleaner than hassling with pads. Cheaper too. I also like Instead Soft Cups. they don't work for me the first couple days, and are a bit more disposable, but are more comfortable and have some nice features; I like having them on hand for occasions.

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  • Diva cups . . . this topic might deserve a post all its own. I SOOO wish I had known about alternatives to disposable pads before my time "in the bush"! Thanks for mentioning this one.

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  • Guest - Lysanne

    You are right about the sleeper tent, anonymous. Now that my baby is old enough to roll around i do a net over the tent.
    And you are right about the Diva cup too :)

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