Difference between pages "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Mozambique" and "Packing list for China"

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{{Packing lists by country}}
  
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This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[China]] and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally.  You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in China.
  
===Communications ===
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===General Clothing===
  
 +
* SmartWool socks
 +
* Good cotton underwear
 +
* Two-three pairs of khakis and two pairs of comfortable pants for leisure and travel (one pair of jeans and one pair of pants with zip off legs)
 +
* Four to six business casual shirts (men should have at least one shirt with a collar that can be worn with a tie)
 +
* One dressy outfit (a sport coat and a tie for men, a dress/skirt for women)
 +
* A good raincoat (a light raincoat, since it rains more in the summer)
 +
* Two pairs of long underwear (light/medium)
 +
* Winter coat, gloves, hat, and scarf
 +
* One or two heavy wool sweaters
 +
* Two to four long-sleeved shirts for layering
 +
* Shorts for sports/leisure 
 +
* Two to four casual shirts for travel/leisure shirts with a little spandex are great since your clothes will stretch out)
 +
* Pantyhose or tights (thick cotton or wool tights are important if you plan to wear skirts or dresses in the winter)
 +
* Easy-care skirts (not too short, at least knee-length), and maybe a wool skirt for winter
 +
* One or two short-sleeved or sleeveless dresses (no spaghetti straps) for summer Shoes
  
  
===Mail ===
 
  
Few countries in the world offer the level of postal service considered normal in the United States. If you expect American standards for mail service, you will be in for some frustration. There is enormous variation in the time it takes for mail and packages to arrive at Volunteers’ sites, ranging from two to three weeks in the south to even longer in the north. Some mail may simply not arrive (fortunately this is not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen). Letters may arrive with clipped edges because someone has tried to see if any money was inside (again, this is rare, but it does happen).  
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Note that good shoes are available in China but only in smaller sizes (up to size 8 for women and up to size 9 for men).  
  
Some Volunteers open post office boxes in their towns, some have mail sent to the Peace Corps/Mozambique office to be delivered by staff or picked up directly whenever possible, and some in the central provinces have mail sent to a town in Zimbabwe from which friends pick it up whenever they cross the border. In any case, advise your family and friends to number their letters for tracking purposes and to write “Airmail” and “Par Avion” on their envelopes.
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* One pair of sneakers (brand names are available locally but American prices)
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* One pair of teaching shoes (sturdy, comfortable, warm for winter)
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* One pair of sturdy sandals (leather is recommended) to wear in the warm season
 +
* One pair of waterproof hiking boots
 +
* One pair of dress shoes
 +
* One pair of “kick-around” shoes.  
 +
 +
Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
  
Despite the delays, we encourage you to write to your family regularly and to number your letters. Family members typically become worried when they do not hear from you, so it is a good idea to advise them that mail service is sporadic and that they should not worry if they do not receive your letters regularly.
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* Deodorant (can be difficult to find in China)
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* A three-month supply of any prescription drugs you take (to have while the medical office orders your medication)
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* Contact lens solutions (available locally; note that the Peace Corps does not recommend wearing contact lenses, but most Volunteers who choose to have been able to wear them. You should still bring two pairs of glasses)
 +
* Any special makeup, facial soaps, or lotions you might want
 +
* Tampons (hard to find in-country)
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*      Tide Sticks (one or two)
  
 +
===Kitchen===
  
 +
Most cooking supplies are available in-country, including eating and cooking utensils.
  
Sending mail from Mozambique to the United States is expensive, so you may want to bring a supply of U.S. postage stamps to take advantage of Americans traveling back to the United States who are willing to mail your letters stateside.  You are likely to have several opportunities a year to send letters this way.
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* Spices: basil, thyme, sage, or other Western seasonings you use (can be purchased in Chengdu, but are nice to bring if you have favorites)
 +
* A coffeemaker if you drink coffee (available locally but American prices); a French press is a good alternative and can be bought in Chengdu and at some other sites
 +
* Baking pans and measuring cups (if you love to bake and want to buy a toaster oven in chengdu—or maybe a former Volunteer left you one—you might need some supplies!)
 +
 +
===Miscellaneous ===
  
Your address during pre-service training will be:
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* Locks for travel and to keep valuables secure in your residence
 +
* Money belt or neck pouch
 +
* Sleeping bag that packs small for travel/warmth in winter
 +
* Swiss army knife or Leatherman tool
 +
* Watch (durable, water-resistant)
 +
* Camera, filters, and extra lens cap; batteries are available locally but may be difficult to find
 +
* Small gifts such as stickers, stamps, coins, maps, key chains, etc.
 +
* Headlamp (great for travel and working in the dark when you need both hands) 
 +
* Duct tape
 +
* Musical instruments if you play (also available locally at fairly reasonable prices)
 +
* Stain stick for laundry (your clothes will get filthy so bring a few)
 +
* Earplugs (for the loud 6 a.m. wakeup call on campus)
 +
* Fitted sheets and pillowcases (schools provide sheets, but they are not fitted); perhaps flannel for winter
 +
* Pictures of clothing from catalogs if you plan to have clothes made
 +
* Games such as Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Taboo, Scattergories, and chess
 +
* Frisbee
 +
* Lonely Planet or Rough Guide to China
 +
* Mandarin Chinese phrase book
 +
* Checkbook (note that checks written from your U.S.  bank account can take 40 days to clear at the local bank)
 +
* Books to supplement those assigned by the college. (Also available at www.bookdepository.com with free shipping to China)
  
Your Name, PCT
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These might include:
  
Peace Corps
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* The ESL Miscellany: A Treasury of Cultural and Linguistic Information: New 21st Century by Raymond C. Clark (Pro Lingua Associates, revised edition 2004)
 +
* High school history books
 +
* Books about your city or area
 +
* Children’s books (the pictures can be useful)
 +
* Books about U.S. holidays or customs
 +
* Literature anthologies
 +
* General references like a world almanac
 +
* A writing and grammar handbook
 +
* Activity books for English conversation and environmental classes 102 
  
C.P. 4398
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Maputo, Mozambique
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Note: Books are really heavy to pack. The Peace Corps Information and Resource Center (IRC) is a great resource, as well as the Book Aid International program. Many reference materials are also available online. It may be more effective to bring a flash disk with your favorite handouts and lessons, and to print those things in-country. Family and friends can also send books from home if needed.
  
Telephones
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* Pictures or slides of your family, hometown, and “typical” America (supermarkets, schools, street scenes, historical sites, weddings and other celebrations)
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* World atlas and maps of the world, United States, your state, etc.
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* Restaurant menus, job application forms, sales announcements, product catalogs, college brochures, recycling handouts, and sightseeing brochures to use in classes
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* A key chain with a small flashlight attached
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* Copies of your diploma and teaching certificates (universities may ask for these)
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* Calendar (hard to find here)
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* Picture frames (also hard to find; if you like frames for your family pictures, etc., bring some)
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* Documents from home (if you are considering a future move such as graduate school, etc. It will make your life much easier if you bring certain documents or copies from home [e.g., GRE scores, an unofficial transcript]; if you own a house and are renting, bring a copy of your lease, and if you may sell your house, pack a copy of deed information)
 +
* Laptop
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* iPod or mp3 player, CDs, speakers
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* Contact information for former employers, references, schools, election office (to request an absentee ballot), bank
 +
* Hard and electronic copies of resume
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* Checkbook and ATM card tied to account
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* Credit card
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* Power of attorney
  
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You may consider having some things, like heavy and bulky winter clothing, sent to you after you have arrived at your site, or you may consider bringing funds to purchase clothing (depending on your size). The key is to bring what you love and don’t bring too much!
  
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Also See:[[Packing List from China Volunteers Perspective]]
  
Long-distance communication via telephone is generally available but is expensive. If you are calling from outside the capital, it may take longer to get a line. Collect calls cannot be made from Mozambique, and calls placed through Mozambique operators can take several hours to connect.
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[[Category:China]]
 
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You will not have a residential telephone, and you may not have a telephone available at your work site. However, public telephones exist in Mozambique, and you will certainly have the opportunity to make (or receive) international calls during your service—if not at your site, certainly within a day’s bus ride.
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Cellular phone service is available in most of the country.  Volunteers often purchase local cellphones for $50 to $100, set up service, and use the phones to receive phone calls and send text messages. The Peace Corps does not issue cellphones to Volunteers.
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Currently, no major U.S. long-distance carrier offers calling card services in Mozambique, but your family and friends may want to check with these companies periodically in case they begin providing service, which would certainly be cheaper than using the local phone service. One Volunteer suggests looking into toll-free services for calling from the United States because it is cheaper.
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===Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access ===
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Most Volunteers do have access to computers at their sites.  Although there are computers at some schools and NGO offices, they are not available for personal use. There are several Internet service providers in Mozambique, in Maputo, and many of the provincial capitals. Volunteers can access the Internet and e-mail at private Internet businesses or at the government telecommunication centers located in some district capitals.
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The service costs about $3 an hour and can be slow—it takes some Volunteers up to one hour just to read four messages and write back. The American Cultural Center in Maputo provides free Internet access to Mozambicans and Volunteers, but it does not allow users to send e-mail. Volunteers also have access to the Peace Corps Information and Resource Center located inside the Peace Corps Mozambique office, where Volunteers can use the Internet and print off documents. Some Volunteers have successfully brought and used their laptop computers at their sites (please note that not all sites have electricity and/or are equipped to support usage of a laptop). As with anything you may consider bringing to Mozambique, use extreme caution and if you are concerned about losing something, then we suggest you not bring it.
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===Housing and Site Location ===
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Education Volunteers live in provincial capitals, district capitals or in rural areas where the secondary schools and teacher-training institutes are located. These areas generally have populations that average 10,000 to 20,000 people.  Most NGOs have offices in provincial and/or district capitals, although not all health Volunteers live near their offices; some live in small communities near where their NGO activities take place. Other health Volunteers work in smaller community organizations and live within walking distance. The provincial capitals all have electricity. In the district capitals, many buildings have electricity some of the time. Generally, in rural areas, electricity may or may not be available. Your house will be located within a reasonable distance to a general market/ store where you can buy basics such as bread, batteries, rice, soap, spaghetti, beans, and pots and pans.
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Most people in the surrounding areas make their living from subsistence agriculture, with sugar cane, cashew nuts, and corn being the primary cash crops.
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The staff of Peace Corps/Mozambique works closely with host government officials and NGOs to ensure that Volunteers have safe accommodations—with mosquito screens on the windows, locks on the doors, and access to water and a latrine. All Volunteers have access to nearby pumps or boreholes, so water for washing is readily available. Drinking water requires boiling and Peace Corps provides every Volunteer with a water filter.
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Your host institution will provide your housing. Housing conditions for teachers and health workers are poor, and the availability of acceptable housing is extremely limited.
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Volunteers may live in new government housing made of cement, reed houses with cement walls and floors and tin roofs, or old cement houses that need repairs. The toilet, bath, and cooking facilities may be indoors or outdoors. Some Volunteers have electricity and/or running water, but many do not. There may be a small plot of ground around your house where you can grow flowers, herbs, and vegetables or begin some type of interesting secondary project Some Volunteers share a house with another Volunteer or Mozambican co-worker of the same sex (except in the case of married couples); in this case each person has a separate bedroom but shares the bathroom, kitchen, and living space.  Note that American concepts of privacy and personal space are not necessarily shared by or are realistic for Mozambicans, and adapting to a more communal lifestyle may require considerable flexibility on your part.
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Some schools hold classes in makeshift classrooms or under trees because there are not enough classrooms. Most have access to water, but some do not have electricity. There may or may not be glass in the windows of cement buildings.  A typical classroom holds 50 students and may not have enough benches for all of them. Other than blackboards, the visual aids common in American schools are nonexistent on Mozambican schoolroom walls. Schools rarely have a library, so very few books are available for students or teachers. Some schools have a staff room for teachers.
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The NGOs vary considerably regarding their available resources; some offices may be located in nice buildings with computers, telephones and everything necessary for a well-functioning office, including vehicles. Many smaller NGOs have virtually nothing, operating out of a run-down building shell with few desks and writing all their reports and financial accounts by hand. Many smaller NGOs must rely on public transportation—and walking—to conduct their activities.
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===Living Allowance and Money Management ===
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The Peace Corps will provide you with a settling-in allowance to purchase initial household goods such as a small stove, kitchen equipment, and a bicycle. You can also find colorful cloth, straw mats, rattan furniture, and other local products to make your home more comfortable. A living allowance paid in local currency will allow you to live at about the same level as your local counterparts.
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The local currency is the metical (plural: meticais). In 2005, the exchange rate was approximately 23,061 meticais to $1. It is possible to obtain cash advances with credit cards at certain banks in Mozambique. . Visa is the most widely accepted card at hotels, stores, and restaurants that accept debit and/or credit cards. Traveler’s checks can be cashed at the major banks in Beira and Maputo and at some of the better hotels.  Bear in mind that there are high fees for banking transactions in Mozambique.
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===Food and Diet ===
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The climate in Mozambique allows the production of many fruits and some vegetables, depending on the rain and time of year. At some times of the year you may find only onions, tomatoes, and bananas in your local market. Packaged and canned goods—imported from South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi or Zimbabwe—are more expensive than local products. Dried fish is available at most sites, and fresh fish is available along the coast. While it is possible to be a healthy vegetarian in Mozambique, your diet will lack the variety you may be used to. Rice, beans, bread, and pasta will be your main foods at home, and you will usually be able to get eggs, some vegetables, beans, rice, bread, and fried potatoes at restaurants.
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===Transportation ===
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Most urban travel is by crowded, slow, and bumpy bus or taxi. Rural transport ranges from minibuses and pickup trucks to lots of walking. Large buses run between most of the provincial capitals. Although Mozambique has invested heavily in restoring its main roads and bridges, travel conditions are still poor, especially off the main paved roads and during the rainy season. Public transportation is not always on schedule or reliable—it can take two hours of riding, waiting, and changing buses to get to a town that is only 25 miles away.  You may have to walk a few miles from your home to get to your work site or to town to shop for supplies, go to the post office, and so on. Peace Corps Volunteers are also given the option of purchasing a bicycle; Volunteers must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. A helmet will be provided by the Peace Corps/Mozambique medical office.
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===Geography and Climate ===
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Three major factors influencing Mozambique’s climate are the warm Indian Ocean current moving south from the equator, Antarctic cold fronts that push northeast through South Africa, and the altitude of the Mozambique plateau.  Temperatures are hot and humid for half the year, and rain can be very heavy in the summer months (December through March). The weather is cooler and drier in the winter months (May through August). You can expect extremely hot temperatures in much of Mozambique, especially in places like Tete, where the average temperature—day and night—is above 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) for several months, topping out at 105 degrees F. Cooler weather exists in Manica Province, where mountains reach elevations close to 4,000 feet, and temperatures in May, June, and July range from the high 70s to the low 50s. Temperatures along the coast and in low-lying areas reach into the high 90s in the summer months. Flooding can occur in the rainy season, restricting transportation and communications for periods of time.
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The hot weather will take some getting used to during your first months at your site, especially for those who work in the afternoon. Though the winter temperatures may appear to be relatively mild, it is sometimes difficult to feel warm during the winter because Mozambican buildings do not have heating systems and are built mostly of cement, a poor heat conductor. You will need a variety of clothing for both hot and cold weather.
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===Social Activities ===
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Needless to say, recreation varies among sites and the preferences of individual Volunteers. You might enjoy visiting the friends and families of your students and fellow teachers, NGO work colleagues or community neighbors, or improving your conversational skills in Portuguese or a local language in a neighborhood hangout. You may enjoy watching soap operas, making or listening to music, going to a disco on weekends, traveling to different sites and provinces, shopping at markets, attending traditional cultural events, growing a home garden, cooking, reading, or writing letters.
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Many Volunteers find that reading for pleasure becomes very important, so be sure to bring your favorite books to enjoy and share with other Volunteers. Also bring pictures of your family, friends, and hometown to show to fellow Volunteers and Mozambican friends. Consider bringing portable musical instruments, sports equipment, or games you like to play.  Soccer, basketball, and volleyball are popular sports among students and community members. If you are an avid runner, for safety reasons, you may not be able to enjoy the freedom of running whenever and wherever you want, but you will be able to find ways to get the exercise you need.
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===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior===
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One of the difficulties of finding your place as a Peace Corps Volunteer is fitting into the local culture while maintaining your own cultural identity and acting like a professional all at the same time. It is not an easy thing to resolve, and we can only provide you with guidelines. You will be assigned to a school to an international or national NGO, community based organization, or faith based organization and will be expected to dress professionally at work, as Mozambicans do.  A foreigner who wears ragged, torn clothing is less likely to be taken seriously.
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Although different work sites may have different dress codes (at least one school requires male teachers to wear ties), for the most part professional dress can be considered casual business wear. Professional clothing for men means button-down shirts, slacks or good jeans, and casual, comfortable shoes. For women it means dresses, skirts or slacks (including nice jeans) with blouses, and dress shoes or sandals. Shorts, sneakers, dirty jeans, and flip-flops are unacceptable at work for either gender. Outside of work it is acceptable to wear jeans, tank tops, and sometimes even shorts, depending on the site, so bring a few casual clothes that you feel comfortable in.
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===Personal Safety ===
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More information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is outlined in the Health Care and Safety chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (oftentimes alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although most Mozambique Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal safety incidents. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Mozambique. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.
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===Rewards and Frustrations ===
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There will be challenges throughout your service that test your commitment to serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. We hope that you find, as do most Volunteers, that the rewards far outweigh the frustrations. You will derive deep satisfaction from knowing that you have made an important contribution to Mozambique’s development. In addition, you will learn more about yourself, your culture, and the culture of Mozambique.  You will gain new job skills and friendships that will last throughout your life.
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[[Category:Mozambique]]
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Revision as of 19:46, 29 August 2010


Packing List for [[{{#explode:Packing list for China| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}]]

Packing Lists by Country

These lists has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[{{#explode:Packing list for China| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}]] based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list!
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Packing list for China| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Packing list for China| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Packing list for China| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Packing list for China| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Packing list for China| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Packing list for China| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Packing list for China| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}]]
[[Image:Flag_of_{{#explode:Packing list for China| |3}}{{#if:{{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}}|_{{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}}|}}{{#if:{{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}|_{{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}|}}.svg|50px|none]]

See also:
Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

[[Category:{{#explode:Packing list for China| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for China| |5}}]]

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in China and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in China.

General Clothing

  • SmartWool socks
  • Good cotton underwear
  • Two-three pairs of khakis and two pairs of comfortable pants for leisure and travel (one pair of jeans and one pair of pants with zip off legs)
  • Four to six business casual shirts (men should have at least one shirt with a collar that can be worn with a tie)
  • One dressy outfit (a sport coat and a tie for men, a dress/skirt for women)
  • A good raincoat (a light raincoat, since it rains more in the summer)
  • Two pairs of long underwear (light/medium)
  • Winter coat, gloves, hat, and scarf
  • One or two heavy wool sweaters
  • Two to four long-sleeved shirts for layering
  • Shorts for sports/leisure
  • Two to four casual shirts for travel/leisure shirts with a little spandex are great since your clothes will stretch out)
  • Pantyhose or tights (thick cotton or wool tights are important if you plan to wear skirts or dresses in the winter)
  • Easy-care skirts (not too short, at least knee-length), and maybe a wool skirt for winter
  • One or two short-sleeved or sleeveless dresses (no spaghetti straps) for summer Shoes


Note that good shoes are available in China but only in smaller sizes (up to size 8 for women and up to size 9 for men).

  • One pair of sneakers (brand names are available locally but American prices)
  • One pair of teaching shoes (sturdy, comfortable, warm for winter)
  • One pair of sturdy sandals (leather is recommended) to wear in the warm season
  • One pair of waterproof hiking boots
  • One pair of dress shoes
  • One pair of “kick-around” shoes.

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Deodorant (can be difficult to find in China)
  • A three-month supply of any prescription drugs you take (to have while the medical office orders your medication)
  • Contact lens solutions (available locally; note that the Peace Corps does not recommend wearing contact lenses, but most Volunteers who choose to have been able to wear them. You should still bring two pairs of glasses)
  • Any special makeup, facial soaps, or lotions you might want
  • Tampons (hard to find in-country)
  • Tide Sticks (one or two)

Kitchen

Most cooking supplies are available in-country, including eating and cooking utensils.

  • Spices: basil, thyme, sage, or other Western seasonings you use (can be purchased in Chengdu, but are nice to bring if you have favorites)
  • A coffeemaker if you drink coffee (available locally but American prices); a French press is a good alternative and can be bought in Chengdu and at some other sites
  • Baking pans and measuring cups (if you love to bake and want to buy a toaster oven in chengdu—or maybe a former Volunteer left you one—you might need some supplies!)

Miscellaneous

  • Locks for travel and to keep valuables secure in your residence
  • Money belt or neck pouch
  • Sleeping bag that packs small for travel/warmth in winter
  • Swiss army knife or Leatherman tool
  • Watch (durable, water-resistant)
  • Camera, filters, and extra lens cap; batteries are available locally but may be difficult to find
  • Small gifts such as stickers, stamps, coins, maps, key chains, etc.
  • Headlamp (great for travel and working in the dark when you need both hands)
  • Duct tape
  • Musical instruments if you play (also available locally at fairly reasonable prices)
  • Stain stick for laundry (your clothes will get filthy so bring a few)
  • Earplugs (for the loud 6 a.m. wakeup call on campus)
  • Fitted sheets and pillowcases (schools provide sheets, but they are not fitted); perhaps flannel for winter
  • Pictures of clothing from catalogs if you plan to have clothes made
  • Games such as Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Taboo, Scattergories, and chess
  • Frisbee
  • Lonely Planet or Rough Guide to China
  • Mandarin Chinese phrase book
  • Checkbook (note that checks written from your U.S. bank account can take 40 days to clear at the local bank)
  • Books to supplement those assigned by the college. (Also available at www.bookdepository.com with free shipping to China)

These might include:

  • The ESL Miscellany: A Treasury of Cultural and Linguistic Information: New 21st Century by Raymond C. Clark (Pro Lingua Associates, revised edition 2004)
  • High school history books
  • Books about your city or area
  • Children’s books (the pictures can be useful)
  • Books about U.S. holidays or customs
  • Literature anthologies
  • General references like a world almanac
  • A writing and grammar handbook
  • Activity books for English conversation and environmental classes 102


Note: Books are really heavy to pack. The Peace Corps Information and Resource Center (IRC) is a great resource, as well as the Book Aid International program. Many reference materials are also available online. It may be more effective to bring a flash disk with your favorite handouts and lessons, and to print those things in-country. Family and friends can also send books from home if needed.

  • Pictures or slides of your family, hometown, and “typical” America (supermarkets, schools, street scenes, historical sites, weddings and other celebrations)
  • World atlas and maps of the world, United States, your state, etc.
  • Restaurant menus, job application forms, sales announcements, product catalogs, college brochures, recycling handouts, and sightseeing brochures to use in classes
  • A key chain with a small flashlight attached
  • Copies of your diploma and teaching certificates (universities may ask for these)
  • Calendar (hard to find here)
  • Picture frames (also hard to find; if you like frames for your family pictures, etc., bring some)
  • Documents from home (if you are considering a future move such as graduate school, etc. It will make your life much easier if you bring certain documents or copies from home [e.g., GRE scores, an unofficial transcript]; if you own a house and are renting, bring a copy of your lease, and if you may sell your house, pack a copy of deed information)
  • Laptop
  • iPod or mp3 player, CDs, speakers
  • Contact information for former employers, references, schools, election office (to request an absentee ballot), bank
  • Hard and electronic copies of resume
  • Checkbook and ATM card tied to account
  • Credit card
  • Power of attorney

You may consider having some things, like heavy and bulky winter clothing, sent to you after you have arrived at your site, or you may consider bringing funds to purchase clothing (depending on your size). The key is to bring what you love and don’t bring too much!

Also See:Packing List from China Volunteers Perspective