FOG has compiled these list of suggestions from former volunteers but there is no right answer of what to bring that works for everyone. Look over them to help you make decisions about packing.

family

See also:

Cookbooks for third world countries
Brian Bueler’s packing updates:

 

    Clothes for Health and Community Development PCVs

You can find very inexpensive used clothing in the markets in Guinea and also get some neat stuff made. You’re really just packing for three months of training right now. After you’re more familiar with Guinea, you’ll be able to find and buy almost everything you need in country.

  • Cotton Underwear (14-20)
  • Bras (W: 2-5, 1-2 nice ones for your own sanity, 1-2 sport bras)
  • Two nice outfits suitable for conferences and/or meetings in the states (W – skirts or dresses or nice slacks and blouse)
  • Jeans (W-1, M-2)
  • T-shirts (2- 4)
  • Tank tops (1-2)
  • Casual pants (2)
  • Casual long dress, women (3- 4). Sleeveless is OK. Especially sun dresses. Cotton is best.
  • Casual skirt (W 2-3)
  • Dancing dress (can be slightly above the knee)
  • Sweatshirt/sweater/flannel shirt
  • Short-sleeved nice but sporty shirts (W 2, M 3)
  • Oxford type shirts (M 1)
  • Light raincoat (shell) or poncho
  • Swim suit
  • Decently nice shoes — like sandals, no dress flats
  • Light waterproof hiking boots and/or sneakers.
  • Running shoes, if you’re a runner
  • Hat for the sun
  • Cotton socks (3- 4)
  • Shorts (1-2), especially long shorts
  • Tevas or Chaco sandals. Birkenstocks are great, too, except they fall apart during rainy season.

    What to pack for female teachers

Submitted by Jenni Pearson, Siguiri, June 02

Clothing/Shoes

  • 3 pair khakis/slacks
  • 2 long skirts
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 5-8 tank tops
  • 4 button-down shirts
  • Modest swimsuit
  • Everyday sandals, like Tevas
  • Hiking/athletic shoes
  • Raincoat
  • 25 pairs of underwear
  • 6-8 bras
  • 5-8 pairs cotton socks
  • Cotton pajamas
  • Cotton slips
  • Several cotton bandanas
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • A hat for sun
  • A good watch with a plastic or web band, not leather
  • 1-2 good outfits for holidays/going out with other PCVs

For School:

  • Ink pens, especially red
  • School bag
  • Accordion file
  • Grade books
  • Colored construction paper (one multicolored package from Target is good)
  • Good scissors
  • Scotch tape
  • Low reading level English books for adults (magazines with lots of pictures are good)

Miscellaneous:

  • Lots of hairclips and bobby pins
  • Halgen water bottle (available at sporting goods stores)
  • Leatherman utility knife (has multiple blades and devices)
  • Headlamp (halogen or LED)
  • Regular flashlight
  • Pillow
  • CD/cassette player and plenty of music CDs/tapes
  • Can opener
  • Rare spices (or ones you like a lot)
  • Crystal Light drink mix
  • Sauce packets (like Knor) to add variety to the rice
  • US stamps (letter and $3.50 stamps for small packages)
  • Envelops which seal with a sticker
  • Girlie stuff (a little makeup, good smelling cream, etc)
  • Lots of film (Guinean film sucks)
  • Stuff that makes you feel good and comfortable
  • $500 in $100 bills for traveling (traveler’s checks are hard to cash and have poor exchange rates)

Don’t Bring:

A French-English dictionary (unless it’s tiny) the Peace Corps will give you a big one
Basic medications (PC will supply these)
Lots of toiletries (you won’t need them or can purchase them in Guinea)
Lots of books (there are good libraries at the regional houses which you will visit periodically)

Do Bring (because they’re hard or impossible to find in Guinea):

  • A good pillow
  • Music
  • Good pens

Advice:

Don’t bring anything with spandex – it will feel like rubber in the heat!

How you dress strongly influences how you’re treated in Guinea. Skirts above the knee, skimpy tops, or anything too tight will mark you as a child because that’s how they dress. Certainly bring a fun outfit or two for the capital, but for day-to-day wear, favor more conservative dress. Tank tops are fine – don’t worry!

You can get almost everything in Guinea, but it might not be exactly how you like it.

You’re really just packing for three months of training right now. After you’re more familiar with Guinea, you’ll be able to find and buy almost everything you need in country.

    What to Bring (everybody)

Comments: Africa will be here, with or without your stuff. That said, here’s the compilation of our obsession with What We Wish We Had Brought. In general, you want to pack enough clothes to get you comfortably through 3 months of training, and then use the rest of the space to put in the things that are most important to you. There is no perfect list, it’s a matter of priority. And bring what makes you happy and kicks ass — like platform shoes and that fave pair of black jeans. Plus, anything that doesn’t fit into your luggage will be a GREAT care package item for your family to send. Don’t stress!

If it’s in this color it means we think you’d really like to have it.

Luggage

You’ll be in a lot of airports in the beginning. The dream-combo of luggage is:

  • Huge bag on wheels for heavy stuff
  • Large internal frame pack, inside a huge duffel bag. This serves to protect all the straps on the frame pack, plus to give you another bag to use, and some extra space.
  • Carry on: a nice medium sized hiking backpack — that funny size that’s larger than a day pack and smaller than your standard overnight pack. Kelty Redwing overnight has been recommended. Plus, a pillow, outside of your day pack.

High Priority

  • Nice big fluffy bath towel
  • Washcloth and/or loofah
  • Good small flashlight
  • Headlamp
  • Duct tape (attach roll to outside of luggage)
  • Stationery stuff: permanent black marker, thumbtacks, nice paper, envelopes have a tendency to seal in the heat, postcards, glue stick, pens, scotch tape
  • U.S. Postage stamps, both letter-rate and priority-rate ($3). One of the best ways to get letters home is to send them with travelers going to the U.S., and they can post your letters for you. Bring about 5 books of the self-stick kind.
  • Art stuff: colored pencils, crayons, markers
  • Nalgene water bottle and/or Platypus
  • Music players. You can buy boom-boxes here for $30-100 if you want.
  • Lots of music
  • Camera and camera batteries
  • Replacement bulbs for flashlight, esp. for mini-maglite
  • Good batteries w/ built-in tester. You cannot get C-batteries in-country
  • Personal pictures
  • Mini alarm clock
  • Swiss Army Knife/ Leatherman
  • Books — a few good ones. We’ve got tons of pulp novels.
  • Book bag/backpack
  • Sunglasses
  • Day planner and/or calendar
  • Calculator (especially for teachers)
  • Spices: curry, Italian, basil, cumin, coriander. Buy in bulk at a health food store, real cheap.
  • Zip-lock bags
  • Hair bands, headbands, hair clips
  • 2 bandannas (essential for dusty taxis in dry season)
  • Some US Dollars (bring large bills —  $100 — you get a better exchange on them). Traveler’s checks are hard to use in-country, but are useful if you travel.
  • A credit card.
  • Short-wave radio (digital is easier to use, analog easier to fix). Can also be bought here but are of questionable quality.

Very Nice To Have

  • An extra small towel, or camp pack towel
  • If you bring a real camera (SLR) bring a point-n-shoot, too
  • Spray bug repellent or skin-so-soft
  • 7-day pill holder
  • Pillow
  • A nice diary or two
  • Spiral-bound notebooks don’t exist here
  • Frisbee, soccer ball
  • music player speakers
  • A small gift for your host family during training, i.e. tea, key chains, baseball cap, T-shirt.
  • Cards and games to play with small children and villagers.
  • Sewing kit
  • Ear plugs (PCVs and roosters are noisy)
  • Lids that fit on tuna cans
  • Tupperware
  • Kitchen items: , garlic press, spatula, 1-2 good knives, good can opener, coffee press or gold filter,
  • Food items: Knorr’s pasta sauce packs and other instant sauces, mac-n-cheese sauce packs, herbal teas, coffee, protein drinks, Koolaid). Your family can also send these in care packages.
  • Toiletries: deodorant (expensive in-country), facial scrubs & masques, deep hair conditioner, nice moisturizer, good hairbrush, haircutting scissors (we also have little scissors in med kits), pumice stone, toothbrushes & toothpaste (quality is questionable in Guinea), echinacea or garlic tablets
  • If you like camping: tent, sleeping bag, standalone portable mosquito net (PC will give you one for your lodgings)
  • tampons
  • Seeds for garden — herbs, veggies, flowers. Good soil here!
  • disposable towlettes
  • New movies to share
  • Good sunglasses
  • Children’s books
  • Picture book of USA
  • Those few silly things that will make you feel happy or luxurious — i.e., mud mask, things that smell good, massage oil, nail polish, stuffed animals, gameboy
  • Bike stuff, if you’re hard-core: climbing bar, headlamp, toe clips, bike headlight
  • Magazine subscriptions (although we all get Newsweek International for free every week)
  • A youth-hostel type sleep sack comes in handy
  • Book light
  • Silica gel for packing batteries in

    What Not to Bring

Don’t Bring Because Peace Corps Gives You This

  • Vitamins (multi, B, C, Calcium)
  • Iodine tablets
  • Sunscreen (unless you have a particular preference, like PABA-free)
  • Mosquito repellent (although spray-pump is very nice to have)
  • Bike stuff: bike repair book, bike gloves, All-in-One Tool (you may need to bring a helmet if they tell you to)
  • Med kit stuff: Neosporin, Vaseline, Peptobismol, Chapstick, small scissors
  • Mosquito net (non-travel variety)
  • Basic medications (PC will supply these)

Don’t Bring Because You Probably Won’t Use It

  • Solar shower
  • Solar battery charger (the $10 variety just doesn’t work)
  • Water filter (although a nice, small, portable one could be handy for trips)
  • Tons-n-tons of tampons. Just bring a few months worth.
  • Sheets. Take up space and you can get them cheap here. They’re provided during training.
  • Lots of jewelry. Just bring a few nice items.
  • Spandex – it will feel like rubber in the heat!
  • A French-English dictionary (provided by PC)
  • Lots of toiletries (you won’t need them or can purchase them in Guinea)
  • Lots of books (there are good libraries at the Regional houses which you will visit periodically)