FAQs about Peace Corps in Lesotho

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{{FAQs by country}}
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{{Packing lists by country}}
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This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[Macedonia]] and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each 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 102pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Macedonia.
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===General Clothing ===
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All Volunteers will need an assortment of clothing for work, play, and socializing. Layering is recommended for winter wear as it is cold outside and generally hot inside. Suitable attire for male teachers includes slacks with a nice shirt and an optional tie. Community development Volunteers working in a municipal or NGO office may find a suit and tie de rigueur for everyday wear, but wearing nice slacks with a sport coat or blazer is fairly common. Community development Volunteers working with an environmental NGO fall somewhere in between, depending on the organization they’re placed with. Suits, dresses, and skirts that are not too short, or nice slacks with blouses are all suitable work attire for women. For both men and women, nice jeans (but not the grunge look), dressed up with a nice shirt and jacket, are also acceptable in many situations, especially social ones. For most places outside of Skopje, a more conservative approach to dressing is appropriate for women. Most men and many women wear jeans to work with a pullover shirt or blouse. Clothing is expensive because most of it is imported, so it is best to bring most of what you will need. Shipping clothes from the States is also possible but expensive. See further suggestions below:
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You will receive reporting instructions from the Office of Staging approximately two weeks before your staging. In the meantime, here are some answers to questions frequently asked by new trainees.
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* Two or three pairs of fleece or silk long underwear (available locally but not of great quality), in colors other than white (which is harder to clean)
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* Several sweaters
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* Scarves, hats, and gloves (Gore-Tex if possible)
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* Winter socks
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* Windproof and waterproof coat or warm jacket
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* Jeans
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* Clothing for warmer weather - shorts
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*      Pullover shirts - long and short sleeve
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I have just been accepted for an assignment in Lesotho; is there anything I should be doing to get ready?
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===Shoes ===
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Submit an updated copy of your résumé to the country desk (send e-mail to [email protected]) along with your personal statement as requested in the invitation kit.  Complete and submit your passport application to SATO Travel. Be sure you have completed all of your medical and dental requirements. You must be medically cleared before you arrive at the staging! If you are not sure of your clearance status, contact the Office of Medical Services.
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* Hiking boots made of leather, waterproof, and lightweight (good-quality ones are available in Macedonia but expensive); winters are cold and very wet
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* Work shoes
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*      Summer shoes
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We strongly encourage you to take advantage of the resources suggested in this Welcome Book. You will receive several weeks of intensive instruction in-country, but the more familiar you are with Lesotho before arriving there, the less difficulty you will have adjusting to the new culture.
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===Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items ===
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===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Lesotho? ===
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A wide variety is available in Macedonia, so do not pack extra toothpaste, toilet paper, dental floss, and shampoo.
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Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits.
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===Kitchen ===
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The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight allowance of 50 pounds for any one bag.  
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Note that most items can be bought in Macedonia and many dried spices and herbs can be found here, especially in Skopje.  
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Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave receivers are permitted, and are a good source of news), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.
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* Favorite recipes
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* Plastic measuring cups and spoons
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===Miscellaneous ===
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===What is the electric current in Lesotho? ===
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* Travel alarm clock
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* The Peace Corps discourages you from wearing contact lenses and does not provide contact lens cleaning supplies. You may bring your own supplies or buy them here. Contact lens maintenance supplies can be found in Skopje, but are somewhat expensive (around $15 to $30).
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* Backpack, small, durable, lightweight, and of good quality for overnight trips (suitcases are a nuisance and large packs may be cumbersome for short trips)
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* Money pouch or belt (to hide your passport and other valuables when traveling)
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* Cash (for vacation travel and long-distance phone calls)
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* Personal checks from a U.S. checking account (handy if you plan to apply to graduate school; can be cashed at a bank in Skopje)
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* Credit card (accepted in most places in Skopje and other large cities, also useful for wiring money to Macedonia)
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* Laptop computer (not required, but tough to get along without one; please see prior sections for tips and other advice on transporting this item)
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* Flashlight (small and durable), an absolute necessity
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* Compact sewing and tool kits
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* Compact sleeping bag (not necessary but may be useful is visiting other volunteers; they take a lot of room in a suitcase and can be purchased in Macedonia)
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* CDs (also available in Macedonia, except for country music)
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* Colored chalk (if you will be working in a school)
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* Family pictures or postcards to share with your host family and friends
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Electrical appliances run on 240 volts. With the distinct possibility that you will not have electricity at your site, we recommend that you wait to purchase any electrical appliances you may need until you have seen your particular living situation.
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[[Category:Macedonia]]
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===How much money should I bring? ===
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Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. Often Volunteers bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.
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===When can I take vacation?===
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Each Volunteer begins accruing two vacation days per month of service after being sworn in. During your nine-week training period, the first three months of service, and the last three months of service, you are not eligible to take vacation.
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These first months in your site are important for establishing good relations with the community and host agency. For this reason, you are encouraged to remain at your site. Volunteers often state an interest in traveling and learning about other cultures as one of the reasons for joining the Peace Corps.  Therefore, the Peace Corps encourages Volunteers to use their vacation time to travel around Lesotho and other countries in the region, rather than vacationing in the United States.
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===Will my belongings be covered by insurance? ===
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The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.
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===Do I need an international driver’s license? ===
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Volunteers in Lesotho do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating privately owned motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and crowded minibuses to trucks and lots of walking. On very rare occasions, a Volunteer may be asked to drive a vehicle. Should this occur, the Volunteer may obtain a local driver’s license.  Your U.S. driver’s license will facilitate the process, so bring it with you just in case.
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===Should I bring gifts for friends and my host family? ===
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While this is not required, some Volunteers have brought gifts to share. A token of friendship is sufficient; do not get carried away. Some gift suggestions include household items (sheets or tablecloths in American styles); knickknacks for the house; photos, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; pens, crayons and colored pencils for children, or photos to give away. You will live with a host family during part of your training, and it is a common practice to bring them small gifts.
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===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training? ===
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This is the most common question asked of the Lesotho desk by trainees. Peace Corps/Lesotho staff will make site assignments after they get to know each trainee, usually during the last few weeks of training. This reflects our desire to make the best match possible between an individual’s skills, experience, and interests and the specific needs at each site.
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===Can I call home from Lesotho? ===
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Most phone service is cellular, and landlines are rare to non-existent outside of Masseru. Cell phones with sim cards (pay as you go) are readily available for purchase and affordable on a living allowance. Calls to America are not cheap, so look for cheap ways for your families to call you. International phone service, by cell phone, to and from Lesotho is reasonably good in the cities and most sites have cell service with limited cellular internet. Calling cards may be used from some telephones—check with your international long-distance company to see if it provides services in Lesotho. You can buy international calling cards in the capital city and use a "public phone" or a land line at Peace Corps Lesotho headquarters but this is inconvenient. Depending on your assignment, You may not be able to receive calls from home while at your site. (Most sites are covered but not all, and cellular service for regions can be dropped for frustratingly long periods. However, in general, most volunteers buy a pay-as-you-go cell phone, and are able to make and receive calls.  Calling America gets expensive very quickly (read: pay-as-you-go), but text messaging is the way of the future! Make sure your family members at home have international text message options on their phones.
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[[Category:Lesotho]]
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Revision as of 15:32, 9 September 2013


Packing List for Corps in Lesotho
Packing.JPG

Packing Lists by Country

These lists has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Corps in Lesotho 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!

See also:
Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Macedonia and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each 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 102pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Macedonia.

Contents

General Clothing

All Volunteers will need an assortment of clothing for work, play, and socializing. Layering is recommended for winter wear as it is cold outside and generally hot inside. Suitable attire for male teachers includes slacks with a nice shirt and an optional tie. Community development Volunteers working in a municipal or NGO office may find a suit and tie de rigueur for everyday wear, but wearing nice slacks with a sport coat or blazer is fairly common. Community development Volunteers working with an environmental NGO fall somewhere in between, depending on the organization they’re placed with. Suits, dresses, and skirts that are not too short, or nice slacks with blouses are all suitable work attire for women. For both men and women, nice jeans (but not the grunge look), dressed up with a nice shirt and jacket, are also acceptable in many situations, especially social ones. For most places outside of Skopje, a more conservative approach to dressing is appropriate for women. Most men and many women wear jeans to work with a pullover shirt or blouse. Clothing is expensive because most of it is imported, so it is best to bring most of what you will need. Shipping clothes from the States is also possible but expensive. See further suggestions below:

Shoes

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

A wide variety is available in Macedonia, so do not pack extra toothpaste, toilet paper, dental floss, and shampoo.

Kitchen

Note that most items can be bought in Macedonia and many dried spices and herbs can be found here, especially in Skopje.

Miscellaneous

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