Packing list for Burkina Faso

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Revision as of 06:39, 4 February 2009

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Burkina Faso 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. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Burkina Faso.

Peace Corps Burkina Faso Packing List

Packing List (Items in bold are those most recommended by Peace Corps/ Burkina Faso Volunteers) Please see Electronics Guidelines below for suggestions about technology (laptops, cameras, etc.)

Contents

Clothes

Men

Women

A note on clothing: Burkinabé, while not excessively formal, put a great deal of emphasis on a professional appearance. Dressing appropriately will greatly enhance your credibility at work, improve your ability to integrate into your community, and increase your odds of having a safe Peace Corps service. You’ll probably feel a lot more comfortable in village, too. Men should expect to wear shirts with a collar and casual slacks; women should wear below-the-knee skirts, dresses, or casual slacks with shirts that are not revealing. This means, for men and women, no tight or see-through clothing or ratty and worn articles. For women especially, please note that Peace Corps does not consider spaghetti strap tank-tops, skirts that reveal the knee, and pants/skirts that reveal the top of your underwear (this goes for the men, too) to be appropriate, professional clothing. For fancy occasions like your swearing-in ceremony, many Volunteers opt to have special clothing made from cloth here rather than wear the dressy outfit they brought. You are expected to dress appropriately at all times when you are in public and while at the Peace Corps training site. That said it is fine to dress down when you are hanging out with other Volunteers or while you are at home and in your courtyard. It' a good idea to bring dresses whose pattern you particularly like - tailors here are good at copying.

Very important: Don’t bring anything that you can’t bear to see destroyed by the dusty climate, harsh soap, and merciless hand washing.

Toiletries

A note about medical supplies: Unless you need a special prescription medicine, the Peace Corps supplies all of the basic medical supplies you may need. This includes multivitamins, sunscreen, bug repellent, lip balm, hand-sanitizer, and lotion. However, if you prefer a certain brand name over-the-counter drug or product, bring it. Peace Corps also provides you with an excellent water filter and several water purification options for travel as well. You do not need to bring your own water filter.

A note to females: Peace Corps/Burkina Faso provides feminine products including Tampax and OB tampons and sanitary napkins, but if you have a preference, you may want to bring your own supply. Some Volunteers recommend the “Keeper” or “Diva Cup” in lieu of disposable products. The medical staff recommends the “Diva Cup” because it is latex-free.

General

Books

Food

You can conserve packing space by preparing a package with food, books, and anything else you feel you may not require right away during training and ask your family to ship it to you.

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Things you can get here


The following are a few suggestions put together by staff and Volunteers regarding electronic equipment that you may wish to bring to Burkina Faso. These suggestions are not at all intended to be comprehensive or authoritative, but rather they are meant to provide some guidance in a complicated and confusing area.

This will be at a public cybercafé where you will pay anywhere from $.75 to $3 an hour. Connections can be slow and unreliable. If you have a LAN card in your laptop, often you can hook up directly to the cybercafé’s connection. If you know the staff at the cybercafé, you may be allowed to connect your laptop to their network. (You must know how to configure the proper addresses to connect to the network; it is common that the person in charge of the cybercafé does not know how to configure the network card.)

Space Satellite Radio, but it is expensive.) If you want music, make sure you bring something to play it on; iPods work well. If you don’t have an iPod or MP3 player, many Volunteers bring Discmans and find that they can use these despite the dust. Bring good portable speakers, too.

During your training you will be living with a host family. It would be a good idea not to show off your electronics. If community members know you have something rare and interesting, it will build pressure on you to lend it out, etc.

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