The First Country by Priscilla Everett
I was born in South Africa as one of four children. We lived on a sheep farm in a rather arid, desert-like area that was relatively isolated. Because of how rural we lived, I was sent away as a weekly boarder to school at the age of five, and by the time I was twelve, I was a semester boarder. So in a way, I’ve been traveling since I was a child.
Eventually, I went to university in Cape Town, where I studied Industrial Psychology. Once I graduated, I took some time to travel. I had a base in London, England, where I worked for Shell and British Rail, but I traveled across Europe, into South America and Asia, and anywhere else I felt like going. During those times some of the places I worked included a dairy farm in Israel and a fish-packing plant in Iceland. I did move back to South Africa after a time.
Then I met my husband. He’d also gone to Cape Town for university but had settled himself in London when I reconnected with him. When we decided to get married, we had a bit of a problem. I found England to be too congested and didn’t want to live there, but he had no intention of moving back to South Africa. So we came up with a plan. We got out a map and made a list of countries we might want to live and settle down in. We thought we’d take some time to live in a couple of them and decide which one we liked best. The first country we decided to move to was Canada, then the plan was to go to Tasmania and on to Australia. We never made it to Tasmania.
Before we knew it, we had jobs, a house, and kids, and had settled down in Canada. In 1993, we were living in Northern British Columbia. We didn’t move to this area until 2002, and one of the main reasons we did so, was to lessen flight times to South Africa a bit. We now live on a farm just outside of Brockville, where we raised our three children, who are all in university now. This has given me a lot more time since I was a stay-at-home mom. Thanks to our son's interests, we started beekeeping as a family some years ago. I have since taken over the hives and turned the hobby into a business.
Made By Bees is my company. With the shift towards sustainability, I create down-to-earth functional products that come from the bees and their hives. My reusable beeswax wraps as an alternative to single-use disposable plastic in the kitchen are one of my favorites as it's a simple response to both reducing food waste and plastic pollution. I sell them online and at a few local stores, including Mrs. McGarrigle's Fine Food Shop, Riverwest, Hall's Apple Orchard, Boboli, BB&Co, Nature’s Way Select Foods, Kings Lock Craft Distillery, Skyward Active Health Centre and Home Hardware. It’s great to be able to partner with local businesses. As well, I offer to do presentations at schools and their eco-clubs with regards to beekeeping.
I may never have dreamed I’d end up in Canada when I was young, but I’m fortunate it’s where I now call home. Every day I’m grateful to live somewhere that’s safe, peaceful, and beautiful.