FAQs about Peace Corps in Mozambique

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FAQs about Peace Corps
  • How much luggage am I allowed to bring?
  • What is the electric current?
  • How much money should I bring?
  • When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
  • Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
  • Do I need an international driver’s license?
  • What should I bring as gifts for my host family?
  • Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
  • How can my family contact me in an emergency?
  • Can I call home?
  • Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
  • Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
...and more...

For information see Welcomebooks

How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Mozambique?

Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds this allowance. 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 authorized baggage 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.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), 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.

What is the electric current in Mozambique?

The electric current is 220 volts, 50 cycles. If you bring any American-manufactured electrical items with you, a small power converter set (with plug adapters and a transformer) will be necessary. Many Volunteers do not have electricity in their homes, some have electricity for a few hours a day and others have it 24 hours a day. Some Volunteers live at sites that are prone to occasional power outages of a few hours or a few days. Some Volunteers find it useful to bring a solar battery charger and batteries. Almost all sites have at least one place in town with access to electricity or a generator for light, cold beverages, and so on.

How much money should I bring?

Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance to set up a home, a monthly living allowance to cover living expenses, a travel allowance for occasional business trips to the Peace Corps office in Maputo, and a leave allowance of $24 for every month of service. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel inside Mozambique and to other countries. Credit cards are preferable to cash and traveler’s checks. Volunteers are also given the option to place money, credit cards and other valuables in the Peace Corps safe for safekeeping.

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?

Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Volunteers assigned to schools must schedule vacation in accordance with the school calendar, which consists of breaks of approximately two weeks in June, one week in September, and one week in April. The actual dates of these breaks are determined at the beginning of each school year in February. The school summer vacation is from mid-December to late January.

Health Volunteers must take leave according to their host organizations’ activity schedules and their personal work schedules as agreed by their supervisors. Most NGOs and government institutions close completely or slow down their activities from mid December to mid January, so this is typically a good time to plan for annual leave.

Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from the Country Director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?

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.

Do I need an international driver’s license?

Volunteers in Mozambique do not need an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles.

What should I bring as gifts for Mozambican friends and my host family?

While providing small gifts is not required, sometimes it is nice to give something small and inexpensive as a token of friendship and thanks. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; picture frames; souvenirs from your area; small toys for children; or photos to give away.

Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?

Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until the third month of pre-service training. This gives the Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with their ministry counterparts.

If feasible, you may have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including availability of meat or vegetables, living alone or with a housemate, distance from other Volunteers, and distance from the capital. Health Volunteers may be asked whether or not they would prefer to work for an international, national, community-based, or faith-based organization and education Volunteers may be asked which grade levels they would prefer to teach. However, keep in mind that many factors influence the site selection process and that the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. Some sites are a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital; others require a flight from a provincial capital to reach Maputo.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?

The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For non-emergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.

Can I call home from Mozambique?

International phone service in Mozambique, while fairly good by African standards, is less reliable than that in the United States. Placing a call through an operator can take an hour or longer. Calling card service to and from Mozambique is not yet available, and collect calls are also difficult to make.

Calls to the United States are very expensive, ranging from $3 per minute for a direct call to $8 per minute for a call through an operator or from a hotel.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?

Some U.S. cellphones work in Mozambique. Please check with the phone’s manufacturer to ensure its compatibility with the network in Mozambique. Used cellphones can be purchased in Mozambique for approximately $50 to $70.

Will there be e-mail and Internet access?

During pre-service training, you will be able to send and receive e-mail about once a week at one of the dozen or so Internet businesses in Maputo (at a cost of approximately $3 an hour). Access to computers and the Internet is still relatively limited outside Maputo but is expanding at a significant rate.