01 June 2008

the devil is in the details

On Tuesday I leave for Philadelphia. Wow.

Over the past several weeks I’ve been too busy packing and listing and saying goodbye to actually update this blog.

A lot has happened that I might eventually talk about, but for now, I’m going to post my packing list.

This is the result of months of wondering and planning – not knowing whether I would have electricity or running water. So many possibilities and so few answers at this stage in the game. I could be living with a family in a big city or in a small village primarily on my own. I could have electricity, hot water and frequent internet access or I could be relying entirely on my solar-powered battery charger, gathering my water from a well and a 10 mile cycle from an internet cafe. The uncertainty is pretty scary for someone like me who likes to be able to plan for everything.

So I may have overdone the solar power stuff. And you may notice REI is my new favorite shop.

This list is largely inspired by a compilation of recommendations from returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs).

Where possible, I’ve included links to product examples for your illustrative enjoyment :)

Note for soon-to-be volunteers: This is an extremely comprehensive list and should really only be used as a guideline.

Clothing Hint: think durable, but also you will want to look nice. Because you are a foreigner, you can get away with a lot, but when you look around at your coworkers, usually you will see that they dress really well.
1. Shoes/Hiking boots
Trail running
• Green sneakers
Chaco sandals - my favorite shoes already, I've been wearing them every day
Teva sandals
• Dress shoes – low heel with ankle strap
2. Pants - women do not normally wear pants in Togo, so kept to a minimum
• Khakis bought from Target
• Yoga pants
• Pajama pants
• Thai farmers trousers
3. Underwear
• about 18 pairs
• plus 3 pairs of boxers
4. Socks
• about 14 pairs
• including 3 pair of special ‘wicking’ sports socks
5. Hats
Tilley Hat
• Soft trail hat
• Notre Dame cap
6. Skirts - "Long" skirts should fall below the knee
Global Traveler
Blue/green elastic
• Elephant wrap
• Black office skirt
7. Dress
• Brown checked dress
8. Tops
• 2 t-shirts: blue car one, Topanga Days shirt
• Dry-fit long-sleeved shirt
• 2 x White long-sleeved shirt
• Blue short sleeve shirt
• 2 x Blue 3⁄4 sleeve
• 4 x Spaghetti strap tanks
9. Several good sturdy bras (that might be the toughest thing to find there)
• 3 Vickies’ bras
• 3 sports bras
10. Other
• 2 x sunglasses
• 2 x glasses
• 2 x black belts
• Nightgown
• 2 x scarves
• Rain jacket
• Bathing suit

Electronic stuff
1. Flashlights
• Head torch
Crankable torch
• Compass with flashlight
• Crank radio with shortwave bands and emergency light
• Travel book light
2. Computer
• Portable battery-powered speaker - really good quality sound and totally tiny. awesome.
Car power adapter - this is to hook up laptop to solar charger
• Laptop
• iPod shuffle and powercord
3. Power sources
AA and AAA battery charger
Solar panel
• 16 rechargeable AAs
• 8 rechargeable AAAs
4. Other
• Card reader and cord
• Camera
• 2 x headphones
• Attack alarm
• Phone cord for modem
• Camera to USB cord
• USB flash drive
• Camera tripod

1. Journal
2. Reading book for plane – Bourne Ultimatum
3. Reference books
• Light on Yoga
• French/English dictionary
• 501 French Verbs
• Lonely Planet West Africa
4. Photo album to share with Togolese
5. Packet of letters from friends and family
6. 2 x California photo book to give as gifts

Bathroom stuff
1. Cleaning products
• 2 solid shampoos from Lush - 10 oz vs. 2 lbs of bottled shampoo. like, duh!
• 1 solid conditioner from Lush
• Solid henna bar for fun :)
• 3 x toothpastes
• 4 x toothbrushes
• Fluoride rinse
• Floss
• Face wash
2. Skin stuff
• Cocoa butter
• Skin so soft Lotion
• Small lotion for carry-on
• 3 bottles of sunscreen
• Antiperspirants
3. Feminine hygiene
• bunch of tampons in all sizes
• Divawash soap
• Razor and blades
• Leg wax and muslin strips
4. Other
• Vitamins – B, echinacea, charcoal
• Ankle support
• Antibacterial ointment, Ibuprofen gel
Repel bug lotion (without DEET!)
• Jungle juice bug lotion
• First Aid kit
• Tweezers, nail clipper
• Some makeup

1. Spices – black pepper, basil leaves, Taco seasoning mix, thyme, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon
2. Garden
• Biosnacky sprouting seeds
• various seeds for growing
• Mini-greenhouse
3. Equipment
• Campware Mess Kit – frying pan and pot
• 3 knives
• Kitchen scissors
• Sporks – serving and normal
4. Other
• Nalgene bottle filled with Greens 2 Go packets
• Parmesan cheese
• Drink mixes – lemonade, peach tea, raspberry tea
• Two packets of brownie mix

1. Utilities
• Solar shower
• Mesh bag
Camelbak backpack
• Camelbak cleaning kit, with lots of cleaning tabs
• Rucksack
• Work gloves
• Pocketknife
• Hair claws for keeping mosquito net closed
Sleep sheet
• Padlock
• Money pouch
2. Diversions
• yoga mat
• playing cards
• stamps
• star stickers
• boxes of crayons for gifts
• Poster tack n’ stick


Jen said...

wow - that is a LOT of stuff! :-)
best of luck, sweetie. all sounds very exciting! x

Eemergency light said...

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