Difference between pages "Packing list for Bulgaria" and "Packing list for Burkina Faso"

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{{Packing lists by country}}
 
{{Packing lists by country}}
  
The following recommendations are based on the experiences of Volunteers who have served in [[Bulgaria]]. Use them as an informal guide, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything that is mentioned, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. Many past and current Volunteers wish they had not brought so many clothes and toiletries and had instead focused on specialty items. You should not hesitate to bring items of sentimental value that will help you feel content at your site, but you can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have a 100-pound weight limit on checked luggage; you will be responsible for any fees for overweight baggage. Except where otherwise indicated, all the following items are available in Bulgaria; they are listed here as items to bring because the quality of the items may be inferior, their price may be significantly higher, or they may not be regularly available in Bulgaria.  
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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.  
  
===General Clothing ===
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Peace Corps Burkina Faso Packing List
  
Volunteers need an assortment of clothing for work, play, and socializing. Since there is a variety of jobs, each with different clothing requirements, you should consider your particular job. Bulgarian teachers and other professionals have a fairly sophisticated fashion sense, which has been described by some as “elegantly casual,” and your Bulgarian colleagues are the best models for what to wear in the workplace.  
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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.)
  
Attire for male teachers usually consists of slacks with a nice shirt and optional tie. COD Volunteers may find a jacket and tie de rigueur for the office or that slacks or a skirt, and a shirt or sweater, are more appropriate. Youth Development Volunteers generally work in more casual situations, but still need appropriate business attire for occasional use. Suits, dresses, and skirts or nice slacks with blouses are all suitable work attire for women; however, avoid clothing that requires dry cleaning because this service is usually only available in larger cities. For both men and women, nice jeans dressed up with a nice shirt and jacket are acceptable in many situations.  Three or four outfits should be sufficient for work. You will also need casual clothes for relaxing around the house, socializing, hiking, skiing, and travel. Good-quality jeans are available in Bulgaria, but they are expensive by Bulgarian standards, so you may want to bring one or two pairs of your favorite brand from the United States (dark or black ones are better than light ones). Clothes that are comfortable and that can be layered as needed to accommodate the season are best. Dark clothes are easier to keep clean and hand-wash, and cotton knits are best avoided because they don’t keep their shape since you most likely won’t have access to a dryer.
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===Clothes===
  
In general, most day-to-day clothing you will need can be purchased for reasonable prices in Bulgaria, so you may want to use your limited packing space to focus on specialty clothing, such as hiking apparel or sporting attire and other unique and specific items.
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* One or two pairs of jeans (no holes, nothing ratty)
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* One pair of sweatpants (or other lightweight pants for sleeping) and a lightweight cotton sweatshirt/sweater
 +
* 3-4 pairs of socks (more if you like to go running)
 +
* Four to six cotton shirts (preferably not all white or light colors—everything turns brown here with the dust and it’s hard to beat out when you wash them by hand.  Also, some Volunteers prefer non-cotton wicking shirts, but these are expensive.)
 +
* A pair of sturdy sandals/flip-flops (e.g., Tevas or Chacos) and a pair of athletic shoes. You may want a nice pair of shoes for dressing up, but these can also be bought here
 +
* Baseball cap or wide-brimmed hat
 +
* Breathable rain jacket
 +
* Swimsuit (there are swimming pools in the capital and other cities)
 +
* Belt (you may lose weight and need one to hold up your pants)
 +
* Sturdy sunglasses with UV protection (plan on losing them; you may want two pairs, but they can also be bought here)
  
Some other suggestions follow:  
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===Men===
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* Two to four pairs of shorts for around the house and biking
 +
* Two to four pairs of comfortable lightweight pants
 +
* Two to three sets of “dress casual” clothes: shirts with collars, casual slacks
 +
* One dress-up outfit (shirt and tie is sufficient)
 +
* Underwear
  
* Bathing suit (Bulgarian women tend to wear two-piece suits, so either two-piece or one-piece is fine)
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===Women===
* Two or three pairs of fleece or silk long underwear (what is available locally is not of great quality), in colors other than white (which is harder to clean)
 
* Several sweaters (good wool sweaters can be purchased locally at reasonable prices) 102
 
* Scarves, hats, and gloves (think fleece, Thinsulate, and waterproof; it gets very cold in the mountains in winter)
 
* Warm socks (you can buy normal day-to-day ones locally)
 
* Lightweight coat or warm jacket, windproof and waterproof (mid-thigh or knee-length winter coats will keep you warmer than waist-length jackets). A wool coat is easy to buy locally, but it is not easy to find a truly waterproof jacket.
 
* Shoes: high-quality, lightweight, waterproof hiking boots are an absolute must, and it is best to break them in before you arrive. You can, buy good-quality hiking boots from internationally known companies at a few stores in Sofia. Wool slippers and flip flops are helpful, and readily available here. Good-quality shoes in large sizes are hard to find; women’s shoes and boots are especially difficult to find in larger sizes (over size 9).  The quality of footwear in Bulgaria is poor, although there are some high-end stores in larger cities (with high-end prices to match). If you wear a larger size, you may want to consider bringing all of the shoes you will need for your stay including work shoes, waterproof boots, and casual shoes. Whatever your size, you will likely want to bring running shoes if you are a runner and other specialty shoes. High-end athletic apparel is available in larger cities, but often Bulgarians see them much more as a fashion statement rather than a practical purchase. The prices reflect that.
 
  
===Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items===
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* Nice dresses (or long skirts) for training and teaching (make sure these cover your knees, even when you sit down, and are not see-through, very important for teachers)
 +
* Two nicer outfits (think spring/summer wear that covers your knees)
 +
* One or two pairs of comfortable lightweight pants or long capris
 +
* One or two pairs of longer shorts for around the house and biking
 +
* Lots of bras and underwear (bring comfortable stuff that you don’t mind ruining; many female Volunteers prefer wicking sports bras for transport and biking)
 +
* Cosmetics and hair accessories (mascara, bandanas, etc., if you use them)
 +
* Your favorite jewelry, but nothing too dear to you.
  
Bring only enough to get through training. A wide variety of both locally produced and imported items (particularly in the cities) are available in Bulgaria, so do not pack extra toothpaste, toilet paper, dental floss, and shampoo, unless you are very particular about what brands you like. This goes for cosmetics, too.  
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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.
  
===Kitchen===
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Very important: Don’t bring anything that you can’t bear to see destroyed by the dusty climate, harsh soap, and merciless hand washing.
  
There are kitchen stores in larger cities in Bulgaria with practically everything you will need to equip even a gourmet kitchen; however, it might be easier and less expensive to pack some of the following:
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===Toiletries===
  
* Favorite local spices, such as chipotle sauce or items generally purchased at specialty or ethnic food stores
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* Bring a three-month supply to get you through training
* Favorite recipes using basic ingredients (you will also receive an excellent cookbook during training that was prepared by previous Volunteers)  
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* Deodorants (very hard to find your favorites here)  
* Oven thermometer (oven temperatures and indicators aren’t very accurate or standard in Bulgaria)  
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* Acne soap (you might have skin problems here. Peace Corps supplies antibacterial soap, which can be used on the face.)  
* Garlic press
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* Soap holder
* Plastic measuring cups and spoons (it can be tricky using recipes with U.S. measurements and metric measuring tools)  
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* Shampoo and hair conditioner (if you’re picky about brands)
* Stainless steel vegetable peeler
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* Razor and supply of razor blades (available here but very, very expensive)  
 +
* Foot care items (sorry, but your feet will get trashed, so you may want a pumice stone and other exfoliating devices; you can find inexpensive shea butter and shea butter products here)
  
===Miscellaneous===
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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.
  
* Compact sleeping bag, for weekend travel and winter warmth (consider a lightweight pad too)
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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.  
* Contact lenses and cleaning solutions (the Peace Corps does not provide contact lens supplies and they are expensive locally)
 
* Sunglasses (can be bought locally, but cheap ones can be poor quality, and expensive ones are really expensive)
 
* Sturdy, water-resistant watch with an alarm (or bring a travel alarm clock) and an extra watchband
 
* Small backpack—durable, lightweight, and of good quality for overnight trips (suitcases are a nuisance and large packs may be cumbersome for short trips)
 
* Money pouch or belt (to hide your passport and other valuables when traveling)
 
* Swiss Army knife, with a corkscrew
 
* 35 mm camera (compact ones are best, since they are inconspicuous and easier to travel with); Kodak and Fuji films can be bought and developed locally, but there are few places, even in large cities, that can process Advantix and Advanced Photo System film
 
* A digital camera is a great idea if you are bringing a computer so you can download your photos — it’s a great way to send photos home via e-mail and a great way to share photos with your community. Processing film is expensive and not available in most small towns.
 
* A debit card or ATM card to withdraw cash that you know should work in Bulgaria and this region (for vacation travel)
 
* Personal checks from a U.S. checking account (handy if you plan to apply to graduate school while you’re here and as a service to Bulgarian students, who need personal checks, in exchange for cash, to pay for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and SAT tests)
 
* Credit cards (a few banks in Sofia offer cash advances and ATMs are becoming more common; also good for travel in other countries)
 
* Laptop—if you decide that you want one here with you (remember to bring an plug adapter with surge protector)
 
* A few novels to swap and any resources related to your program that you feel you must have
 
* Durable flashlight
 
* Compact sewing and tool kits
 
* Games (Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, playing cards, Frisbee, etc.)
 
* Plastic storage bags of various sizes (generally not available in Bulgaria)
 
* Postcards, maps, and pictures from home to share with your community
 
* An American football
 
  
Note: If you bring valuable items such as a laptop, CD player, or musical instrument, bring a sales receipt or other documentation of ownership. In the event that we have to send your belongings home as unaccompanied baggage, proof of ownership prior to your arrival in Bulgaria must be presented to Bulgarian customs officials to avoid excessive customs fees and/or export restrictions. Also remember to insure any items of value.
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===General===
  
Note: Don't worry if you forget something, you can find pretty much everything, especially if you go to any of the bigger cities. The communist years are over and since the late 90's availability of western products is vast and prices are still lower than in the US for most things.
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* Sturdy backpacks. Day packs (some like fanny packs or the tops of larger packs) are nice for work and bike rides. Medium packs are good for short trips. And large packs are recommended for longer trips (if you plan any) and getting all your stuff here.
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* A good headlamp
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* Leatherman or Swiss Army knife
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* Durable water bottle (e.g., Nalgene; you might want to bring two as they tend to wander off)
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* Lightweight screen mosquito tent for sleeping outside in the hot season and traveling (Peace Corps provides mosquito nets, but many Volunteers recommend Tropic Screen Tents or REI's Bug Hut)
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* Good can opener
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* Duct tape
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*      Solar bulbs or/and solar power panels. With a power panel you can charge your cell or any other low-voltage USB-port devices, such as IPod, Kindle, etc. All you need is sun, and that's plentiful. You may want to check the Nokero and Solio products. Peace Corps Volunteers get a 25%-50% discount on Nokero products when they join [http://www.marketforchange.com Market for Change]
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* Ziploc bags (in various sizes)
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* Lots of good pens and craft supplies (special papers, sharpie permanent markers, highlighters, pencils, pastels, etc.)
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* A book or two of U.S. stamps (Volunteers traveling home can mail letters for you)
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* Good nonstick frying pan and plastic spatula (can be found here, but they are expensive)
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* Sharp kitchen knife (if you plan on cooking, this is essential; knives here are very dull, you may even want to bring your own knife sharpener)
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* Pot holders (although you can get kitchen towels here that will suffice)
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* Good scissors (and hair-cutting scissors if you want them)
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* Family pictures and anything from home that will make you feel more comfortable (pictures, posters, your favorite book or teddy bear, journal, scented candles… but, again, don’t bring items too dear to you)
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* Eyeglass repair kit
 +
* Travel sewing kit
 +
* A durable watch with alarm (nothing you mind losing) or travel-size clock
  
[[Category:Bulgaria]]
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===Books===
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* Do not worry too much about books. There are plenty of books already here, especially classic novels, fiction about Africa, Oprah’s book club, Harry Potter, and way too many romance novels. You may want to bring a few to get you through training or some newer novels.
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===Food===
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* Powdered drink mixes (e.g., Crystal Lite or Kool-Aid; sugar is available here)
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* Cheese, soup, and sauce packets
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* Your favorite spices
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* Power bars and granola bars
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* Dried fruit
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* Candy and your favorite junk foods
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 +
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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===You also might want...===
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* Musical instrument (if you play or would like to take up a new hobby)
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* Sleeping pad for sleeping outside or on the floor (e.g., Therm-a-rest)
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* Travel-size board games (Scrabble, Boggle, etc.)
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* Small towel or a special pack light towel (although most volunteers end up using what's called a pagne - a fairly large piece of cloth you can buy in any market - that dries quicker than other towels)
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* Small battery-powered fan with water spritzer
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* And if you’re at all picky about pillows, bring your own
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===And if you really like to bike...===
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* Bike gloves
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* Bike shorts
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* Biking hydration system (e.g., Camelbak)
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* Any other bike accessories you prefer (like a padded seat)
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== Things you can get here ==
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* Gas stove, cooking utensils, pots, forks, spoons, etc.
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* Second-hand European and U.S. clothing
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* African and European cloth that can be made into any kind of clothing you desire at very reasonable prices (if you’re interested in making Western-style clothing you may want to bring a few clothes catalogues with pictures to take to the tailor)
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* A wide selection of plastic flip-flops and cheap sunglasses
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'''Teachers Only'''
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* Bring your calculator
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* If you can find one, a good French/English technical dictionary in your discipline may also be helpful
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== Guidelines for Electronic Equipment in Burkina Faso ==
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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.
 +
 
 +
* By no means should you think that you must bring a laptop to do your work here. If you don’t have the money for one, don’t worry about it. Volunteers do a wide variety of work with and without computers.  However, most Volunteers who have brought laptops are glad that they did. It may make things a lot easier for you, though most Volunteers do not have electricity in their villages and need to charge their laptops elsewhere. A computer is an enormous symbol of wealth in Burkina Faso; if you reveal that you own one, it will affect how people view you and could make you a target for theft.
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* The electrical current in Burkina Faso is 220 volts, twice the strength of the current in the U.S. Make sure you understand how to adapt your equipment before you plug it in. In some cases, this simply means turning a switch from 110 to 220; in other cases, you will need a transformer or converter. (One trainee who wasn’t aware of this ruined a laptop when he plugged it in immediately upon arrival.) 110-220 watt converters are of better quality in the U.S. and we suggest purchasing this before arriving in-country.
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* Whatever electronic equipment you will need, bring it with you. Almost anything can be purchased here, but often only after a lengthy search, at exorbitant prices and of inferior quality.
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* You may type documents in French. Often the software that comes with your computer lets you install a French dictionary and spell check. Load this sort of thing before you come. If you don’t have such a package, consider purchasing one.
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* Electrical outlets here have different prongs than in the U.S. Here it’s two round pegs like in France, rather than the two flat prongs as in the U.S. You can buy these adaptors in the U.S., but they are much cheaper (about 40 cents) in Burkina Faso where they are available in most hardware stores. If you choose to purchase it in the U.S., it is called a French adaptor.
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* Very few organizations that Volunteers work with have a desktop computer. Volunteers who have UBS jump drives or flash memory are glad they brought them. They can carry documents and pictures around as needed. This is a good idea even if your organization does not have a computer, as all Volunteers can save work done on computers in Ouagadougou.
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* There is Internet access now in almost every large town. This will be at a public cybercafé where you will pay anywhere from $.75 to $3 an hour. Connections can be slow and unreliable. Often you can hook up directly to the cybercafé’s connection via ethernet or even wi-fi using your own laptop. 
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* Most Volunteers have digital cameras.
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* Batteries sold here are of very poor quality. Bring a charger and rechargeable batteries for your camera or you will spend a fortune on batteries.
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* Radios, boom boxes, CD players, etc. are very expensive here and often of poor quality. While shortwave radios are available in markets here, many Volunteers suggest bringing your own shortwave from home. (Grundigs are great and they make a hand crank model that doesn’t require batteries. Some Volunteers are fond of World
 +
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.
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* Most volunteers buy cell phones on arrival, but some bring GSM phones (ie not CDMA phones from Verizon) and swap out the SIM card.
 +
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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[[Category:Burkina Faso]]

Revision as of 11:02, 27 November 2011


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

Packing Lists by Country

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

See also:
Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

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

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.)

Clothes

  • One or two pairs of jeans (no holes, nothing ratty)
  • One pair of sweatpants (or other lightweight pants for sleeping) and a lightweight cotton sweatshirt/sweater
  • 3-4 pairs of socks (more if you like to go running)
  • Four to six cotton shirts (preferably not all white or light colors—everything turns brown here with the dust and it’s hard to beat out when you wash them by hand. Also, some Volunteers prefer non-cotton wicking shirts, but these are expensive.)
  • A pair of sturdy sandals/flip-flops (e.g., Tevas or Chacos) and a pair of athletic shoes. You may want a nice pair of shoes for dressing up, but these can also be bought here
  • Baseball cap or wide-brimmed hat
  • Breathable rain jacket
  • Swimsuit (there are swimming pools in the capital and other cities)
  • Belt (you may lose weight and need one to hold up your pants)
  • Sturdy sunglasses with UV protection (plan on losing them; you may want two pairs, but they can also be bought here)

Men

  • Two to four pairs of shorts for around the house and biking
  • Two to four pairs of comfortable lightweight pants
  • Two to three sets of “dress casual” clothes: shirts with collars, casual slacks
  • One dress-up outfit (shirt and tie is sufficient)
  • Underwear

Women

  • Nice dresses (or long skirts) for training and teaching (make sure these cover your knees, even when you sit down, and are not see-through, very important for teachers)
  • Two nicer outfits (think spring/summer wear that covers your knees)
  • One or two pairs of comfortable lightweight pants or long capris
  • One or two pairs of longer shorts for around the house and biking
  • Lots of bras and underwear (bring comfortable stuff that you don’t mind ruining; many female Volunteers prefer wicking sports bras for transport and biking)
  • Cosmetics and hair accessories (mascara, bandanas, etc., if you use them)
  • Your favorite jewelry, but nothing too dear to you.

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

  • Bring a three-month supply to get you through training
  • Deodorants (very hard to find your favorites here)
  • Acne soap (you might have skin problems here. Peace Corps supplies antibacterial soap, which can be used on the face.)
  • Soap holder
  • Shampoo and hair conditioner (if you’re picky about brands)
  • Razor and supply of razor blades (available here but very, very expensive)
  • Foot care items (sorry, but your feet will get trashed, so you may want a pumice stone and other exfoliating devices; you can find inexpensive shea butter and shea butter products here)

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

  • Sturdy backpacks. Day packs (some like fanny packs or the tops of larger packs) are nice for work and bike rides. Medium packs are good for short trips. And large packs are recommended for longer trips (if you plan any) and getting all your stuff here.
  • A good headlamp
  • Leatherman or Swiss Army knife
  • Durable water bottle (e.g., Nalgene; you might want to bring two as they tend to wander off)
  • Lightweight screen mosquito tent for sleeping outside in the hot season and traveling (Peace Corps provides mosquito nets, but many Volunteers recommend Tropic Screen Tents or REI's Bug Hut)
  • Good can opener
  • Duct tape
  • Solar bulbs or/and solar power panels. With a power panel you can charge your cell or any other low-voltage USB-port devices, such as IPod, Kindle, etc. All you need is sun, and that's plentiful. You may want to check the Nokero and Solio products. Peace Corps Volunteers get a 25%-50% discount on Nokero products when they join Market for Change
  • Ziploc bags (in various sizes)
  • Lots of good pens and craft supplies (special papers, sharpie permanent markers, highlighters, pencils, pastels, etc.)
  • A book or two of U.S. stamps (Volunteers traveling home can mail letters for you)
  • Good nonstick frying pan and plastic spatula (can be found here, but they are expensive)
  • Sharp kitchen knife (if you plan on cooking, this is essential; knives here are very dull, you may even want to bring your own knife sharpener)
  • Pot holders (although you can get kitchen towels here that will suffice)
  • Good scissors (and hair-cutting scissors if you want them)
  • Family pictures and anything from home that will make you feel more comfortable (pictures, posters, your favorite book or teddy bear, journal, scented candles… but, again, don’t bring items too dear to you)
  • Eyeglass repair kit
  • Travel sewing kit
  • A durable watch with alarm (nothing you mind losing) or travel-size clock

Books

  • Do not worry too much about books. There are plenty of books already here, especially classic novels, fiction about Africa, Oprah’s book club, Harry Potter, and way too many romance novels. You may want to bring a few to get you through training or some newer novels.

Food

  • Powdered drink mixes (e.g., Crystal Lite or Kool-Aid; sugar is available here)
  • Cheese, soup, and sauce packets
  • Your favorite spices
  • Power bars and granola bars
  • Dried fruit
  • Candy and your favorite junk foods

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.

You also might want...

  • Musical instrument (if you play or would like to take up a new hobby)
  • Sleeping pad for sleeping outside or on the floor (e.g., Therm-a-rest)
  • Travel-size board games (Scrabble, Boggle, etc.)
  • Small towel or a special pack light towel (although most volunteers end up using what's called a pagne - a fairly large piece of cloth you can buy in any market - that dries quicker than other towels)
  • Small battery-powered fan with water spritzer
  • And if you’re at all picky about pillows, bring your own

And if you really like to bike...

  • Bike gloves
  • Bike shorts
  • Biking hydration system (e.g., Camelbak)
  • Any other bike accessories you prefer (like a padded seat)


Things you can get here

  • Gas stove, cooking utensils, pots, forks, spoons, etc.
  • Second-hand European and U.S. clothing
  • African and European cloth that can be made into any kind of clothing you desire at very reasonable prices (if you’re interested in making Western-style clothing you may want to bring a few clothes catalogues with pictures to take to the tailor)
  • A wide selection of plastic flip-flops and cheap sunglasses

Teachers Only

  • Bring your calculator
  • If you can find one, a good French/English technical dictionary in your discipline may also be helpful

Guidelines for Electronic Equipment in Burkina Faso

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.

  • By no means should you think that you must bring a laptop to do your work here. If you don’t have the money for one, don’t worry about it. Volunteers do a wide variety of work with and without computers. However, most Volunteers who have brought laptops are glad that they did. It may make things a lot easier for you, though most Volunteers do not have electricity in their villages and need to charge their laptops elsewhere. A computer is an enormous symbol of wealth in Burkina Faso; if you reveal that you own one, it will affect how people view you and could make you a target for theft.
  • The electrical current in Burkina Faso is 220 volts, twice the strength of the current in the U.S. Make sure you understand how to adapt your equipment before you plug it in. In some cases, this simply means turning a switch from 110 to 220; in other cases, you will need a transformer or converter. (One trainee who wasn’t aware of this ruined a laptop when he plugged it in immediately upon arrival.) 110-220 watt converters are of better quality in the U.S. and we suggest purchasing this before arriving in-country.
  • Whatever electronic equipment you will need, bring it with you. Almost anything can be purchased here, but often only after a lengthy search, at exorbitant prices and of inferior quality.
  • You may type documents in French. Often the software that comes with your computer lets you install a French dictionary and spell check. Load this sort of thing before you come. If you don’t have such a package, consider purchasing one.
  • Electrical outlets here have different prongs than in the U.S. Here it’s two round pegs like in France, rather than the two flat prongs as in the U.S. You can buy these adaptors in the U.S., but they are much cheaper (about 40 cents) in Burkina Faso where they are available in most hardware stores. If you choose to purchase it in the U.S., it is called a French adaptor.
  • Very few organizations that Volunteers work with have a desktop computer. Volunteers who have UBS jump drives or flash memory are glad they brought them. They can carry documents and pictures around as needed. This is a good idea even if your organization does not have a computer, as all Volunteers can save work done on computers in Ouagadougou.
  • There is Internet access now in almost every large town. This will be at a public cybercafé where you will pay anywhere from $.75 to $3 an hour. Connections can be slow and unreliable. Often you can hook up directly to the cybercafé’s connection via ethernet or even wi-fi using your own laptop.
  • Most Volunteers have digital cameras.
  • Batteries sold here are of very poor quality. Bring a charger and rechargeable batteries for your camera or you will spend a fortune on batteries.
  • Radios, boom boxes, CD players, etc. are very expensive here and often of poor quality. While shortwave radios are available in markets here, many Volunteers suggest bringing your own shortwave from home. (Grundigs are great and they make a hand crank model that doesn’t require batteries. Some Volunteers are fond of World

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.

  • Most volunteers buy cell phones on arrival, but some bring GSM phones (ie not CDMA phones from Verizon) and swap out the SIM card.

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.