Clare Halliday

Clarehalliday

Clare Halliday

Here is an account of times I've spent volunteering around the world, plus doing a bit of travelling.



Africa » Swaziland February 23rd 2015

Having been back at Guba for three weeks, it’s finally time to continue my blog! Time has passed much too quickly, and I fear it’ll only speed up as time goes on. I’ve really settled into a good routine now, and feel like I’m slowly becoming a fixture within the workings of the farm! As I described in my first post, Guba has been designed around permaculture ethics and principles (http://permacultureprinciples.com/principles/). It’s not just talk - they are true to their word! The team’s knowledge of, and dedication to, permaculture has surprised and delighted me, and every day I seem to learn something new. The farm incorporates every aspect of a typical closed permaculture system - vegetables, herbs, trees (fruit and native trees), animals (chickens and pigs), and of course water conservation, energy p... read more
Seed and seedling nursery
Area prepared by the piggys
guba entrance

Africa » Botswana February 9th 2015

I’ve been away from Guba the past 2 weeks, doing an incredible camping tour of Botswana and Zimbabwe! The tour started and ended in Johannesburg, where I splashed out on a decent camera before my trip began.The first 3 days we drove a long way through Botswana, which was tiring, but the group (there were 13 of us) at least went on an evening game drive the first night at Stevensford Game Reserve in Tuli Bock, to get our first taste of African wildlife. We saw a couple of Kudu, springbok, impala, wildebeest, skip hare and some new birds. The drives through Botswana were actually interesting, I found it incredible being surrounded by endless trees and scrub! The same in Zimbabwe. There were a lot of cattle grazing, plus some donkeys and goats, which would usually ... read more
Okavango Delta floodplains
Young lion at Chobe
Victoria Falls

Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley January 26th 2015

GUBA: meaning “To dig” in Siswati, the native language of Swaziland. This is a truly special project, and quite unique, I think, in its impact, its ability to evolve with the needs of the community, and its scope. It’s a small not-for-profit set up just 5 years ago with limited funding, by an amazing British couple who’d simply had enough of working in NGOs filled with bureaucracy, politics and corruption and who wanted to make a real difference to the quality of life of people in Swaziland. Guba’s mission statement is “Alleviating poverty through training in sustainable agriculture, natural building and natural resource management”. And it's absolutely true to every word. Guba is run entirely on Permaculture principles - the space is laid out in a permaculture way - the garden is farmed using permaculture techniques ... read more
Tent with a view
Mister ducky
Gorgeous plant nursery

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Auroville February 13th 2014

Time's flown by, and I can't believe it's already the middle of my third week here! I've been having an amazing time and every day holds something new and different, from work tasks to workshops to food to meeting new people and everything in between. Last Wednesday morning I did “tree hole digging” for my first morning SEVA, which involved one person loosening soil in an uphill arc around a metal tube placed on the ground, which is approx. 30cm diameter and 70cm high, using a pointy metal crowbar, whilst the other person digs out the soil from the arc using a “mounti”(?) spade, which is a shovel with a short handle (photo hopefully included) and deposits it around the tube, making a mound around 40cm high. These tubes then get filled with trees and compost, ... read more
In the forest
Trees planted in mounds
Big banyan tree

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Pondicherry January 28th 2014

I'm staying at Sadhana Forest in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India for 4 weeks as a volunteer. Sadhana is a reforestation project that is aiming to replant 70 hectares of Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest, a highly diverse forest with around 160 woody species, of which only 0.01% of the original remains. Much of the land that was originally covered with this forest has turned to desert and the water levels have dropped so much that people find it hard to reach fresh water and many streams and rivers have dried up. A local tree nursery provides young trees for the project and thousands of volunteers come to work at the project every year – there are currently just over 100 people staying, but people arrive and/or leave most days. Around 1/3 of the residents are long-term volunteers ... read more
Aeroplane birthday!!
Sadhana forest path
Big black and yellow beetle

Europe » Ireland » County Galway » Loughrea November 15th 2012

So I’ve come to the end of my time WWOOFing in Ireland, my final day at Sunny Meadow has been and gone and in a few days I’ll be heading back home to England. I’d be lying if I said I won’t be sad to leave – I’ve been so happy here, met some very interesting people and made a few really good friends, plus I’ve learnt a huge amount, especially about farming, food and cooking. There are a lot of things I can take forward into my life at home and into the future. Well, firstly, I need to mention the chutney! After spending around 3 hours on the stove we eventually judged it cooked! We could tell because the bottom of the pan was visible when we dragged a spoon through. So we put ... read more
The Hens
At the top of Diamond Mountain (~500m)
Castle on the Sky Road

Europe » Ireland » County Galway » Loughrea November 1st 2012

I’ve spent 3 weeks at Sunny Meadow so far and how time has flown! I’ve crammed so much into my time here already and learnt a lot about farming and also cooking – how growing food and eating organically is a great way to live healthily, and new ways to cook good, wholesome vegetarian food. At home there are a few meals I usually make, nearly all of them to go with pasta or rice. Here, I almost never eat those staples, sticking instead to meals full of vegetables, eggs, potatoes and bread in different combinations. Every lunchtime we make soup, usually from scratch using veg straight from the garden, or creating something using cooked veg from the previous day. Nearly nothing goes to waste here – mouldy veg is thrown to the chickens or put ... read more
Beach at Rosses Point
The girls
Painting by Peter Cramm

Europe » Ireland » County Galway » Loughrea October 23rd 2012

Wednesday night was fun – somebody had made, for the birthday boy, who was turning fifty, a tall stack of colourful fairy cakes, to which I was encouraged to tuck in freely. There was of course music, including an incredible violinist, who got so carried away and played so quickly she looked as though she might explode! The birthday boy made a hilarious and very drunken speech and then pulled some poor woman onto the dancefloor to be twirled around incessantly. Thursday was a nice day for work – I spent a lot of time cutting Pok Choi salad and giving the parsley a severe haircut, as well as watering the polytunnel beds and picking the last of the red and orange tomatoes, before veg boxes were to be collected on Friday. We also moved some ... read more
Galway cathedral
West Cork Ukulele Orchestra
Silent disco

Europe » Ireland » County Galway » Loughrea October 17th 2012

After being delayed an hour, having seen my bus from Galway drive off whilst still sitting on the bus from Limerick, I arrived at Sunny Meadow farm around 6pm, thanks to Dermot, my new host, picking me up from Loughrea. I met the German and the Italian – both very nice girls around my age. The German, Ester, is in her final year of a nutrition degree in Germany. The Italian, Mara, has just finished college. Dermot is a friendly, smiley Irish guy who has two little girls, who are very sweet. Sunny Meadow farm is commercial, with 3 polytunnels, around 50 chickens, Lil Texas the horse, Scooby Doo the dog and two outdoor cats. Dermot does a veg box scheme and sells his produce at Mountshannon market every Saturday. So I met the other WWOOFers ... read more
Kilarney Abbey
Kilarney House
View of the lake from by the house

Europe » Ireland » County Cork » Bantry October 10th 2012

Saturday turned out to be another clear, sunny day! Lili and I made the most of the fine weather and went walking further along the Sheep’s Head peninsula (www.sheepsheadroutes.ie). We did two loops and about 5 miles in total, plus a good deal of going up and down steep hills. The first walk was at the very end of the peninsula, where we clambered around to reach the Sheep’s Head lighthouse. The views from there were incredible and we spotted a shoal of dolphins (or seals, we couldn’t tell) about 100m off the coast, moving towards us, their heads bobbing up out of the water every so often. Gannets were tracking the shoal and kept diving into the sea catching fish. From the lighthouse there was about a mile of uphill walking back to the carpark; ... read more
Butternut squash
Lighthouse walk
Sheep's Head lighthouse




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