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

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{{Packing lists by country}}
  
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This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[Micronesia]] 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. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. Although you can get almost everything you need in Micronesia, it is advisable to bring some essentials, find out what you really need once you are in-country, and then write home to have things sent to you. Having your family or friends buy what you need may be a little cheaper than buying things locally.
  
===Communications ===
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Be mindful that sites in Micronesia greatly vary—you won’t be able to pack for your exact location until you get your specific site placement. You may find yourself on an outer island requiring nothing more than two thus (loincloths)/or a lava-lava (sarong-type wrap skirt for women) and a spear (for fishing). Extra room in your bags to add things you obtain when you get here may be more valuable than extra things from the U.S. Locally appropriate clothing (particularly local skirts for women) is available here, and you will likely be less comfortable in skirts you bring from the states. Electronics are much more expensive here and selection is limited, so we suggest you bring what you must have from the U.S. An outer island Volunteers states that “As soon as I figured out I had an outer island location. I left about 20 pounds of things with my host family back on Pohnpei.”
  
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Note: don’t bring anything too nice as everything will receive a lot of wear and tear and may get lost, borrowed, or taken.
  
  
===Mail ===
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===General Clothing===
  
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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===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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* No more than three pairs of casual lightweight pants for work (many jobs require that you wear pants, as does the Peace Corps during training, Most Volunteers say that jeans are not appropriate as they are too hot.  Quick-dry travel pants, such as those made by Ex-Officio or Northface can be very practical).
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* One or two pairs of lightweight, slightly dressier pants
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* Four to five button-down or polo-style shirts (anything short sleeved with a collar, the lighter the weight, the more comfortable; some Volunteers say button-up are cooler)
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* Approximately three pairs of lightweight shorts (athletic and regular). Shorts should be loose and knee length. Note that shorts can be bought on main islands.  
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* Flip flops
  
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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Note that lightweight slacks, flip-flops or sandals, and a nice Hawaiian-style shirt is appropriate for almost any occasion—it is considered professional for work and is also proper church attire for males.  
  
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===Women===
  
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* One or two pairs of loose, lightweight, casual long pants and lightweight long-sleeve shirts (protection from mosquitoes at night.)
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* One or two pairs of long, loose shorts (knee length) One should be quick-dry shorts to wear with a swimsuit. While long shorts may be purchased on island, smaller women will have difficulty finding a size to fit them here.
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* Two to three loose skirts (not see-through) that cover your knees (Note: you could easily just bring one or two skirts as you will want to buy colorful local skirts  for yourself and will likely be given some as gifts by host families also. You will accumulate many skirts throughout your Peace Corps service!)
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* A couple of sleeveless tops that are not too tight (you will likely only wear these in your home, depending on your island)
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* One to two casual, conservative dresses (not see-through and not sleeveless). You can buy local dresses and have them made, so you really only need one or two dresses to start with.
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* Four to five button-down or polo-style shirts (anything short sleeved and dressier than a T-shirt—the lighter the weight, the more comfortable. Most Volunteers recommend button-up shirts for coolness. Cap-type sleeves are fine and can also be cooler.)
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* Flip-flops (worn with skirts and dresses and appropriate for almost any occasion. You will need these, but they can also be bought here in Micronesia)
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* Cotton half slip or biking shorts for wearing under skirts (nylon is too hot) Men and Women (note that this list is somewhat redundant with the separate male/female ones above)
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* Not more than six T-shirts (without controversial topics printed on them and stay away from white). Bring some oldies and some favorites, your lucky shirts, etc.  You can always get more here. Some Volunteers find that some solid colored T-shirts are useful as they can appear more dressy with a skirt or slacks.
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* One sweatshirt or long-sleeve shirt with some warmth to it.
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* Three to five pairs of socks for hiking or exercising and if you anticipate going running a lot.
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* Two-week supply of underwear (cotton is highly recommended) 95
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* Two swimsuits (Women swim in shorts and tanks/shirts so you will likely only wear a swimsuit underneath your shorts and shirt. Men will swim in long shorts. Generally Micronesian men also wear a T-shirt to swim.)
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* Lightweight rain jacket (breathable may be most comfortable); can be paired with the sweatshirt or long-sleeve shirt for those few days that may feel chilly
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* Hat with sun protection (best to bring something that does not blow off easily while on a boat)
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* Sleepwear (many female Volunteers sleep in a T-shirt and long skirt or shorts as local women do)
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* Bandana (can be bought locally)
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* A pair of running/walking or athletic shoes
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* One or two pairs of sturdy sandals (e.g., Tevas, Chacos or Keens) for walking/hiking on rough terrain. These should not be leather because leather will mold and rot. You can also use these sandals or athletic shoes for hiking (hiking boots are too warm, too heavy, and will likely mold very quickly). Most Micronesians hike on any terrain using no footwear or only flip-flops!
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* Reef walkers/water shoes (to protect your feet from coral and other sharp things while you are in the water); some Volunteers use their Teva-type shoes.  Note about shoes: Flip-flops will be worn 95 percent of the time, and the custom in Micronesia is to remove your shoes when entering homes or some office buildings. If you are not used to wearing flip-flops, make sure to bring a comfortable pair from the U.S. because those sold in stores here lack arch support and are made of tough plastic. Any shoe that is not a slip-on is impractical. Other than the below exceptions, there is really no situation where a male Volunteer would need a closed dress shoe:
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* On Kosrae it is necessary to have closed-toe shoes for Christmas marching. Additionally male trainees are generally asked to wear closed shoes for swear-in.
  
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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===Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items===
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(a medical kit is distributed within first few days, so we are only noting items you will need in addition to that kit)
  
Your address during pre-service training will be:
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* Start-up supply of basic toiletries- shampoo, deodorant, shaving supplies. Females may want to bring a one-year supply of tampons & panty liners. (Liners are great for absorbing moisture and reducing yeast infections.  Both tampons and liners have limited availability in Micronesia, and what you can find tends to be extremely expensive)
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* Start-up supply of nonprescription medicines.
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* Three-month supply of prescription medicines
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* Two pairs of prescription eyeglasses (if you wear them) and eyeglass repair kit
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* One bath towel (fast drying), one beach towel, and one hand towel. Note that you can buy towels here, but that you will need at least one towel upon arrival and moving to your host family)
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* “Pack” or quick-drying towel
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* Two flat sheets with pillowcases (sheet can be purchased on most main islands, but supply is very limited and prices are high).
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* Nail clippers and nail file (can be bought on main island) Kitchen
  
Your Name, PCT
 
  
Peace Corps
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Although you will be living with a host family, eating with them, and likely using their kitchen equipment if you cook, you may choose to bring some items of your own (on most islands, your host family may be resistant to the idea of a male PCV cooking)
  
C.P. 4398
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* A good can opener is highly recommended. You can buy a can opener here, but choices are limited.  
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* Your favorite recipes. Note that many ingredients may not be available here.  Miscellaneous
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* Sturdy backpack or duffel bag for three-to-four-day trips. A waterproof or water resistant one is ideal.
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* Waterproof “dry” bag. Many PCVs consider these incredibly invaluable, and they normally cannot be bought in Micronesia.
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* Ziploc storage bags—sandwich and gallon size (**Note plastic bags CAN be bought in Micronesia, but they are expensive and choices are limited)
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* Daypack or small backpack
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* Fanny pack or money belt
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* Belts
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* Cheap water-resistant or waterproof watch
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* Small travel alarm clock (and extra batteries)
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* 2 pairs of sunglasses with UV protection (a spare is crucial)
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* Swiss army knife or Leatherman
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* Camera (consider an underwater housing - many wonderful photo opportunities exist under the water for both snorkelers and SCUBA divers. The housing will also help protect your camera in this extremely wet environment) Current PCVs strongly recommend digital cameras for sending pictures back home and sharing among Volunteers. Bring extra batteries and film if you have a standard camera.
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* Walkman or CD/cassette player with electrical cord and CDs and tapes (power and outlets in Micronesia are the same as in the US—standard 110) PCVs suggest bringing burned CDs. They will get ruined, so better than the originals getting ruined.
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* Aloe (for sunburn)
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* Waterproof/water resistant flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries. Rechargeable ones are ideal, as waste disposal is a significant problem on Micronesian islands.  You may only have the option of using disposable ones, however, if your site is on an “outer island” without continual electricity. These days, even many “outer islands” have a generator and occasionally electricity that would permit you to charge batteries.
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* Sleeping mat or pad (note that a straw sleeping mat can easily be bought here in Micronesia). Families generally sleep on straw mats and may consider this adequate for a Volunteer. However foam pads can usually be found on-island.
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* Snorkeling/SCUBA gear (with mesh carrying bag and defogger.)
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* Tropical/Micronesian marine life identification book (optional)
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* High-quality water bottles (e.g., Nalgene)
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* A few U.S. dollars (There is a cash station in Kolonia, Pohnpei, and in Palau, although you will have limited access as a trainee)
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* Sewing kit with strong thread
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* Good scissors/razor (for cutting hair, etc.)
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* PCVs may want to consider a daily oil-free facial lotion with UV protection. Do note that PC provides sun block to PCVs, but if you are sensitive to breakouts, you may want to bring something special for your face.
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* Start up supply of Duct tape (wonderful for everything! Note that good quality duct tape can also be purchased on most main islands, after you have settled in)
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* Start-up supply of stationery, envelopes, and pens (again—you can buy all this on the main island) Do not bring U.S. stamps, as FSM and Palau use their own stamps, although the postal service here is part of the US postal service system. 
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* World and U.S. maps
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* Copies of photos of your family, friends, and home (keep in mind that originals can get ruined)
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* Backgammon, Frisbee, and cards and other travel games. Host families love to play games with PCVs.
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* Books. (Peace Corps/Micronesia has a good selection of paperbacks and technical references, but, you should bring any reference materials you feel will be essential to your job. PCVs tend to trade recreational reading books)
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* Rock climbers’ clips for hanging or attaching things
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* Small travel hammock
  
Maputo, Mozambique
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===What Not To Bring:===
  
Telephones
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* Ties
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* Anything that is especially valuable/sentimental to you.
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* If you would be very upset if it broke, got lost, molded or rotted, or was stolen, reconsider your decision to bring it.
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* Fancy jewelry. Lots of cool local shell jewelry is available here!
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* Expensive Digital Cameras—this is an incredibly beautiful place and you may want to record it in images but the weather is disaster for electronic equipment. Plan on bringing protective gear for any camera you bring.
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* Laptop—a few Volunteers have laptops, and are quite happy that they brought them. Think carefully, however, if the advantages to you personally of having these items outweigh the disadvantages. Over 2 years, moisture damage to electronic equipment is extremely common.
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Don’t count on bringing the item home with you at the end of your service. If you are on an outer island, you may not have regular access to electricity. The Peace Corps office on each island has a shared PCV computer that you will have limited access to. Many local schools have computers that you will likely have some access to if you are assigned to a school. Laptops can be extremely useful to some PCVs, but some PCVs find the hassle and worries of having one are greater than the advantages.  Others are extremely glad that they brought them.  Some PCVs find that a USB storage device (jumpdrive, memory stick) gives them great flexibility to work on a variety of computers in different locations. Will bringing these items/modern conveniences enhance your Peace Corps experience or take away from it? These are personal decisions, and equipment that is invaluable for one PCV is a burden to another.
  
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It will most likely be easier for your family to mail something to you that you forgot or later deem necessary, than to send something extra back home that you find you don’t need.
  
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===Suggestions for gifts for Host Families:===
  
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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* Good kitchen knife
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* Movies (DVDs)
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* Good can opener
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* Small bottles of Maple Syrup (Micronesians love pancakes)
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* Small photo of you in a frame —possibly you and your US family—your host family may love this!
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* T-shirts or coffee mugs with American stuff like: I love New York, I love Chicago, Baseball Teams, Football Teams, Batman, Pepsi, etc. Shirts sized L or XL.  
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* Anything else from your home state
  
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.
 
  
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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[[Category:Micronesia]]
 
 
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.
 
 
 
===Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access ===
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
===Housing and Site Location ===
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
Most people in the surrounding areas make their living from subsistence agriculture, with sugar cane, cashew nuts, and corn being the primary cash crops.
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
===Living Allowance and Money Management ===
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
===Food and Diet ===
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
===Transportation ===
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
===Geography and Climate ===
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
===Social Activities ===
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior===
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
===Personal Safety ===
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
===Rewards and Frustrations ===
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
[[Category:Mozambique]]
 

Latest revision as of 13:15, 23 August 2016


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

Packing Lists by Country

These lists has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[{{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |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 Micronesia| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |5}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |5}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |5}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |5}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |5}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |5}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |5}}]]
[[Image:Flag_of_{{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |3}}{{#if:{{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |4}}|_{{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |4}}|}}{{#if:{{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |5}}|_{{#explode:Packing list for Micronesia| |5}}|}}.svg|50px|none]]

See also:
Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

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

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Micronesia 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. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. Although you can get almost everything you need in Micronesia, it is advisable to bring some essentials, find out what you really need once you are in-country, and then write home to have things sent to you. Having your family or friends buy what you need may be a little cheaper than buying things locally.

Be mindful that sites in Micronesia greatly vary—you won’t be able to pack for your exact location until you get your specific site placement. You may find yourself on an outer island requiring nothing more than two thus (loincloths)/or a lava-lava (sarong-type wrap skirt for women) and a spear (for fishing). Extra room in your bags to add things you obtain when you get here may be more valuable than extra things from the U.S. Locally appropriate clothing (particularly local skirts for women) is available here, and you will likely be less comfortable in skirts you bring from the states. Electronics are much more expensive here and selection is limited, so we suggest you bring what you must have from the U.S. An outer island Volunteers states that “As soon as I figured out I had an outer island location. I left about 20 pounds of things with my host family back on Pohnpei.”

Note: don’t bring anything too nice as everything will receive a lot of wear and tear and may get lost, borrowed, or taken.


General Clothing

Men

  • No more than three pairs of casual lightweight pants for work (many jobs require that you wear pants, as does the Peace Corps during training, Most Volunteers say that jeans are not appropriate as they are too hot. Quick-dry travel pants, such as those made by Ex-Officio or Northface can be very practical).
  • One or two pairs of lightweight, slightly dressier pants
  • Four to five button-down or polo-style shirts (anything short sleeved with a collar, the lighter the weight, the more comfortable; some Volunteers say button-up are cooler)
  • Approximately three pairs of lightweight shorts (athletic and regular). Shorts should be loose and knee length. Note that shorts can be bought on main islands.
  • Flip flops

Note that lightweight slacks, flip-flops or sandals, and a nice Hawaiian-style shirt is appropriate for almost any occasion—it is considered professional for work and is also proper church attire for males.

Women

  • One or two pairs of loose, lightweight, casual long pants and lightweight long-sleeve shirts (protection from mosquitoes at night.)
  • One or two pairs of long, loose shorts (knee length) One should be quick-dry shorts to wear with a swimsuit. While long shorts may be purchased on island, smaller women will have difficulty finding a size to fit them here.
  • Two to three loose skirts (not see-through) that cover your knees (Note: you could easily just bring one or two skirts as you will want to buy colorful local skirts for yourself and will likely be given some as gifts by host families also. You will accumulate many skirts throughout your Peace Corps service!)
  • A couple of sleeveless tops that are not too tight (you will likely only wear these in your home, depending on your island)
  • One to two casual, conservative dresses (not see-through and not sleeveless). You can buy local dresses and have them made, so you really only need one or two dresses to start with.
  • Four to five button-down or polo-style shirts (anything short sleeved and dressier than a T-shirt—the lighter the weight, the more comfortable. Most Volunteers recommend button-up shirts for coolness. Cap-type sleeves are fine and can also be cooler.)
  • Flip-flops (worn with skirts and dresses and appropriate for almost any occasion. You will need these, but they can also be bought here in Micronesia)
  • Cotton half slip or biking shorts for wearing under skirts (nylon is too hot) Men and Women (note that this list is somewhat redundant with the separate male/female ones above)
  • Not more than six T-shirts (without controversial topics printed on them and stay away from white). Bring some oldies and some favorites, your lucky shirts, etc. You can always get more here. Some Volunteers find that some solid colored T-shirts are useful as they can appear more dressy with a skirt or slacks.
  • One sweatshirt or long-sleeve shirt with some warmth to it.
  • Three to five pairs of socks for hiking or exercising and if you anticipate going running a lot.
  • Two-week supply of underwear (cotton is highly recommended) 95
  • Two swimsuits (Women swim in shorts and tanks/shirts so you will likely only wear a swimsuit underneath your shorts and shirt. Men will swim in long shorts. Generally Micronesian men also wear a T-shirt to swim.)
  • Lightweight rain jacket (breathable may be most comfortable); can be paired with the sweatshirt or long-sleeve shirt for those few days that may feel chilly
  • Hat with sun protection (best to bring something that does not blow off easily while on a boat)
  • Sleepwear (many female Volunteers sleep in a T-shirt and long skirt or shorts as local women do)
  • Bandana (can be bought locally)
  • A pair of running/walking or athletic shoes
  • One or two pairs of sturdy sandals (e.g., Tevas, Chacos or Keens) for walking/hiking on rough terrain. These should not be leather because leather will mold and rot. You can also use these sandals or athletic shoes for hiking (hiking boots are too warm, too heavy, and will likely mold very quickly). Most Micronesians hike on any terrain using no footwear or only flip-flops!
  • Reef walkers/water shoes (to protect your feet from coral and other sharp things while you are in the water); some Volunteers use their Teva-type shoes. Note about shoes: Flip-flops will be worn 95 percent of the time, and the custom in Micronesia is to remove your shoes when entering homes or some office buildings. If you are not used to wearing flip-flops, make sure to bring a comfortable pair from the U.S. because those sold in stores here lack arch support and are made of tough plastic. Any shoe that is not a slip-on is impractical. Other than the below exceptions, there is really no situation where a male Volunteer would need a closed dress shoe:
  • On Kosrae it is necessary to have closed-toe shoes for Christmas marching. Additionally male trainees are generally asked to wear closed shoes for swear-in.

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

(a medical kit is distributed within first few days, so we are only noting items you will need in addition to that kit)

  • Start-up supply of basic toiletries- shampoo, deodorant, shaving supplies. Females may want to bring a one-year supply of tampons & panty liners. (Liners are great for absorbing moisture and reducing yeast infections. Both tampons and liners have limited availability in Micronesia, and what you can find tends to be extremely expensive)
  • Start-up supply of nonprescription medicines.
  • Three-month supply of prescription medicines
  • Two pairs of prescription eyeglasses (if you wear them) and eyeglass repair kit
  • One bath towel (fast drying), one beach towel, and one hand towel. Note that you can buy towels here, but that you will need at least one towel upon arrival and moving to your host family)
  • “Pack” or quick-drying towel
  • Two flat sheets with pillowcases (sheet can be purchased on most main islands, but supply is very limited and prices are high).
  • Nail clippers and nail file (can be bought on main island) Kitchen


Although you will be living with a host family, eating with them, and likely using their kitchen equipment if you cook, you may choose to bring some items of your own (on most islands, your host family may be resistant to the idea of a male PCV cooking)

  • A good can opener is highly recommended. You can buy a can opener here, but choices are limited.
  • Your favorite recipes. Note that many ingredients may not be available here. Miscellaneous
  • Sturdy backpack or duffel bag for three-to-four-day trips. A waterproof or water resistant one is ideal.
  • Waterproof “dry” bag. Many PCVs consider these incredibly invaluable, and they normally cannot be bought in Micronesia.
  • Ziploc storage bags—sandwich and gallon size (**Note plastic bags CAN be bought in Micronesia, but they are expensive and choices are limited)
  • Daypack or small backpack
  • Fanny pack or money belt
  • Belts
  • Cheap water-resistant or waterproof watch
  • Small travel alarm clock (and extra batteries)
  • 2 pairs of sunglasses with UV protection (a spare is crucial)
  • Swiss army knife or Leatherman
  • Camera (consider an underwater housing - many wonderful photo opportunities exist under the water for both snorkelers and SCUBA divers. The housing will also help protect your camera in this extremely wet environment) Current PCVs strongly recommend digital cameras for sending pictures back home and sharing among Volunteers. Bring extra batteries and film if you have a standard camera.
  • Walkman or CD/cassette player with electrical cord and CDs and tapes (power and outlets in Micronesia are the same as in the US—standard 110) PCVs suggest bringing burned CDs. They will get ruined, so better than the originals getting ruined.
  • Aloe (for sunburn)
  • Waterproof/water resistant flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries. Rechargeable ones are ideal, as waste disposal is a significant problem on Micronesian islands. You may only have the option of using disposable ones, however, if your site is on an “outer island” without continual electricity. These days, even many “outer islands” have a generator and occasionally electricity that would permit you to charge batteries.
  • Sleeping mat or pad (note that a straw sleeping mat can easily be bought here in Micronesia). Families generally sleep on straw mats and may consider this adequate for a Volunteer. However foam pads can usually be found on-island.
  • Snorkeling/SCUBA gear (with mesh carrying bag and defogger.)
  • Tropical/Micronesian marine life identification book (optional)
  • High-quality water bottles (e.g., Nalgene)
  • A few U.S. dollars (There is a cash station in Kolonia, Pohnpei, and in Palau, although you will have limited access as a trainee)
  • Sewing kit with strong thread
  • Good scissors/razor (for cutting hair, etc.)
  • PCVs may want to consider a daily oil-free facial lotion with UV protection. Do note that PC provides sun block to PCVs, but if you are sensitive to breakouts, you may want to bring something special for your face.
  • Start up supply of Duct tape (wonderful for everything! Note that good quality duct tape can also be purchased on most main islands, after you have settled in)
  • Start-up supply of stationery, envelopes, and pens (again—you can buy all this on the main island) Do not bring U.S. stamps, as FSM and Palau use their own stamps, although the postal service here is part of the US postal service system.
  • World and U.S. maps
  • Copies of photos of your family, friends, and home (keep in mind that originals can get ruined)
  • Backgammon, Frisbee, and cards and other travel games. Host families love to play games with PCVs.
  • Books. (Peace Corps/Micronesia has a good selection of paperbacks and technical references, but, you should bring any reference materials you feel will be essential to your job. PCVs tend to trade recreational reading books)
  • Rock climbers’ clips for hanging or attaching things
  • Small travel hammock

What Not To Bring:

  • Ties
  • Anything that is especially valuable/sentimental to you.
  • If you would be very upset if it broke, got lost, molded or rotted, or was stolen, reconsider your decision to bring it.
  • Fancy jewelry. Lots of cool local shell jewelry is available here!
  • Expensive Digital Cameras—this is an incredibly beautiful place and you may want to record it in images but the weather is disaster for electronic equipment. Plan on bringing protective gear for any camera you bring.
  • Laptop—a few Volunteers have laptops, and are quite happy that they brought them. Think carefully, however, if the advantages to you personally of having these items outweigh the disadvantages. Over 2 years, moisture damage to electronic equipment is extremely common.

Don’t count on bringing the item home with you at the end of your service. If you are on an outer island, you may not have regular access to electricity. The Peace Corps office on each island has a shared PCV computer that you will have limited access to. Many local schools have computers that you will likely have some access to if you are assigned to a school. Laptops can be extremely useful to some PCVs, but some PCVs find the hassle and worries of having one are greater than the advantages. Others are extremely glad that they brought them. Some PCVs find that a USB storage device (jumpdrive, memory stick) gives them great flexibility to work on a variety of computers in different locations. Will bringing these items/modern conveniences enhance your Peace Corps experience or take away from it? These are personal decisions, and equipment that is invaluable for one PCV is a burden to another.

It will most likely be easier for your family to mail something to you that you forgot or later deem necessary, than to send something extra back home that you find you don’t need.

Suggestions for gifts for Host Families:

  • Good kitchen knife
  • Movies (DVDs)
  • Good can opener
  • Small bottles of Maple Syrup (Micronesians love pancakes)
  • Small photo of you in a frame —possibly you and your US family—your host family may love this!
  • T-shirts or coffee mugs with American stuff like: I love New York, I love Chicago, Baseball Teams, Football Teams, Batman, Pepsi, etc. Shirts sized L or XL.
  • Anything else from your home state