Monday, June 2, 2008

Packing list for new volunteers

Several of the volunteers in Jessica's stage are re-vamping the PC packing list. For readers of this blog who may be going to Niger in July, here is the new list, so far:

Clothing stuff:
Chaco flip flops (PCVs live in flip flops. Nigeriens live in flip flops. You can buy them everywhere here, but apparently Chaco ones are super popular items b/c they're sturdy. fyi: if you wait till you get your PCV ID card, you can send it home & get a discount from Chaco.)
Jeans (nice for cold season)
Running clothes (lightweight cotton pants! not shorts! never shorts! they lied on the packing list and said we could wear shorts for sports-- not true)
Jewelry (fine to wear here)
Long skirts, light weight, NOT white
Rain jacket
NOT hiking shoes
Sunglasses (the ones here are cheap & scratch easily)

Techno stuff:
Solio Charger (for phones, ipods etc) (Tip: pink one is cheaper)
Ipod speakers (battery powered)
ipod (as opposed to cd player)
Digital camera (this Olympus is practical for this climate, dust-proof)
Laptop (a few cities have wireless internet...i dunno if i'd bring one personally, but those who have them are very popular)

Toiletry stuff:
Contacts are FINE; but you should have glasses, too
Contact solution
Deodorant, toothpaste if you are picky
Conditioner! can't get it here apparently
Waxed floss if you floss
They have tampons, sunscreen, and bugspray here (we were led to believe they didn't)
Instead of using tampons/pads (remember: there's a waste problem), think about a divacup
Electric (battery) razor- one guy LOVES his
Ear plugs

Kitchen stuff:
Good knives
Knife sharpener
Can opener

Combination locks (2)
Bug tent: a nice option for when you are traveling, or have visitors; not crucial though
Pillow (the ones here are pretty bad)
Sleeping bag, definitely
Headlamp (extra batteries, too)
Pens (not the clicky kind! they jam with sand)
Snacks for during training
Battery-powered spray bottle fan (genius)
US stamps (to send letters home with friends who go on vacation)
Stationary is fun

Below is Tim & Jolene's list. If you google "Tim Jolene Packing List" you will also see a few paragraphs giving you some advice, the best being "there is no perfect packing list."
Anyway, this list will show you that a few items that have recently been removed from the official list; tank tops, for example cannot be worn in public, may want to pack one/two to wear in the confines of a hostel, or just to sleep in:

General Clothing
• Water- resistant windbreaker
• Ten or so pairs of cotton underwear
• Three to five cotton T-shirts or tank tops (white not recommended). PLEASE NOTE that tank tops have been removed from the packing list!
• Two or three dress shirts (but avoid white dress shirts)
• One or two pairs of shorts for sports (but note that shorts are not normally worn by men or women in public)
• Two or three pairs of lightweight, loose-fitting cotton pants (tailors can duplicate them), the darker the better
• Two or three skirts for women (short skirts are inappropriate so look for below knee length or longer, and pockets are handy)
• One sweater/sweatshirt (fleece)
• No more than three or four pairs of cotton socks and you can probably get away with only one pair (not white due to dust)
• One dressy outfits for official functions, e.g., good-looking dress or pants and a collared shirt (tie very optional); do not bring anything that needs dry cleaning
• Belts (for when your clothes no longer fit you as you’ll probably lose weight)
• One or two brimmed hats or baseball caps
• One pair of jeans
• Swimsuit (sometimes a pool may be available)

• One pair of sturdy sandals (e.g., Tevas, Birkenstocks, Chacos)
• One pair of tennis shoes
• One pair of dress shoes for official functions (e.g., loafers or boat shoes for men and nice sandals for women); if your sandals are nice enough they will be fine in most official functions
Note: Sand, dust, rain, mud, and mildew are prevalent in Niger, so you may want to waterproof or otherwise protect much of your clothing and footwear.

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
• Thin, lightweight towel
• Nail clippers and nail file
• Good pair of scissors (for hair cutting and other things)
• Two pairs of prescription glasses, if you wear them, and maybe one tinted pair with sturdy cases.
• Three-month supply of any prescription medication you take (including birth control pills)
• Facial astringent/Face wipes (only if you prefer a specific brand)
• Special soaps and hair conditioners
• Two-month supply of shampoo for training
• Earplugs
• Toothpaste (only if you want your favorite brand, as it can be purchased in Niger)
• Two pairs of dark sunglasses (locally available sunglasses may not have UV protection) with a sturdy case
• Razor and blades (if you are partial to a certain type—you can purchase Bic razors locally)
• Tampons (three-month supply), only if you prefer a certain brand (some but not all brands are available in Niger)

• Swiss army knife or Leatherman with can opener, bottle opener, blade, corkscrew (do NOT pack this in your carry on bag)
• Sturdy water bottles (e.g., Nalgene) or canteens; two quart size is ideal (small-mouth bottle easier to drink out of while traveling)
• Spices for cooking (e.g., cinnamon, oregano, basil, curry powder); most can be purchased in Niger
• Dry sauce mixes and instant drink mixes (a nice treat)
• Small and large plastic food storage (zip-lock) bags (there are lots of plastic bags in Niger but not many zip-lock ones)
• Hard candies (note that chocolate melts, except for peanut M&M’s)
• Plastic containers (to protect a camera, tapes, and food)
• Dried fruit/granola/energy bars
• Jerky and/or tuna in a pouch
• Pudding
Note that Peace Corps/Niger has a cookbook specific to cooking in Niger. Also almost any food you want can be sent from home.

• Sleeping bag (very light, highly compactable one is best)
• Pillow (optional)
• Combination lock (key locks available locally)
• Sturdy but inexpensive waterproof watch
• A sturdy day pack or fanny pack
• Batteries for anything electronic that you bring
• Solar battery recharger (note that it is usually easier to just buy new batteries and battery rechargers can burn out from the heat)
• Alarm clock
• Backpack—internal frame, well constructed (not too large)
• U.S. and world maps
• Paperbacks (there are many at the Peace Corps office, but recent releases make good additions)
• Games (e.g., deck of cards, chess, checkers, Othello, Frisbee, backgammon); many are available in the transit houses
• Photos of family, friends, and scenery (a great way to get to know people)
• Musical instruments
• Materials for hobbies and crafts (you will have more free time and fewer distractions)
• Calendars, holiday cards, thank-you notes, stationery, address book, good writing pens
• U.S. driver’s license (for travel outside Niger)
• Credit cards (for travel outside of Niger)
• Padded envelopes for sending items home (like film)
• Twelve to 20 ID photos (for visas and other forms; photo-booth quality is OK, though this can be done in Niger )
• Duct tape
• Cassette recorder,Walkman, iPod, or MP3 player
• Your favorite music and blank cassettes (CDs will get scratched)
• Shortwave radio (for BBC and Voice of America news broadcasts; inexpensive ones can be purchased in Niamey)
• Flashlight or headlamp and spare bulbs (also available in Niger)
• Self-adhesive U.S. stamps for mailing letters with people traveling to the United States
• Camera with a dustproof case (smaller is better as it is more inconspicuous), including digital equipment to download to a computer
• USB sticks (highly recommended since you will share computers and therefore run the risk of losing information stored directly on the shared computers)
• Your favorite movie on DVD or VHS (You will have access to a TV sometimes)

1 comment:

Jody said...

You can get Conditioner here you just have to know where to look and not be to picky!