Difference between pages "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Liberia" and "Packing list for Nicaragua"

From Peace Corps Wiki
(Difference between pages)
Jump to: navigation, search
(Created page with '{{Living_conditions_and_volunteer_lifestyles_by_country}} ===Communications=== Mail may be sent to: <br> [your name] <br> Peace Corps Volunteer <br> P.O. Box 707 <br> Monrovia,…')
 
(Updated PC Nicaragua Packing List)
 
Line 1: Line 1:
{{Living_conditions_and_volunteer_lifestyles_by_country}}
+
Revised Packing List for Peace Corps Nicaragua
  
===Communications===
+
This list has been compiled and revised by Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving in Nicaragua and is based on their experience. Use this information as a guide for packing, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. Obviously, you cannot bring everything mentioned here, so please consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. As you decide what to bring, remember that there are weight limitations depending on the airline and the amount of luggage that Peace Corps will cover (80 lbs). You can buy a lot of what you need in Nicaragua, but some items are either difficult to come across in rural areas and some things are expensive (comparatively to the States and in relation to Volunteer salary).
  
Mail may be sent to: <br>
+
FYI: Many great brands offer discounts for Peace Corps Volunteers (Eagle Creek, Timbuk2, ExOfficio, Keen, Chaco, Teva). Make sure to ask if a discount applies when you are buying new items. You may have to provide a copy of your acceptance letter.
[your name] <br>
+
Peace Corps Volunteer <br>
+
P.O. Box 707 <br>
+
Monrovia, Liberia <br>
+
West Africa <br>
+
  
Letter mail may be received at the above post office box
+
General Clothing Items:
number. Parcels may also be sent, but delivery is not
+
reliable. If parcels are sent it is recommended to keep the
+
tracking number for reference. Please keep in mind that
+
mail delivery is nearly nonexistent in Liberia, so Volunteers
+
should not count on receiving a lot of mail. Email is the best
+
bet, but access will vary according to location. There will be a
+
computer available for Volunteers in the Peace Corps office in
+
Monrovia, the nation’s capital, but trips to Monrovia
+
are infrequent.
+
  
All of the telephone lines were destroyed in the war and there
+
Keep in mind: Clothing stores are accessible in Nicaragua and many Volunteers buy used U.S. clothing in thrift shops. Personal items, such as underwear, tend to be more difficult to find. Clothes are generally washed with cold water on a concrete washboard and are hung to dry. Cottons and linens are breathable, which is good for the hot weather, but stretch and wear out quickly; also consider bringing some clothes made of fabrics that tend to hold their shape better and last longer (i.e. nylon, spandex, and polyester blends). Some Volunteers found that purchasing a lot of REI-type camping clothing was unnecessary and made them stand out because the local people do not wear similar attire, but that buying a good pair of shoes was well worth the investment.  
are no hardlines available. All calls are made by cellphone.
+
The cellphones in Liberia are not “locked” into a particular
+
provider, as they are in the United States. They use SIM
+
cards, so if you bring an American phone, please be sure it is
+
multisystem and is “unlocked.” Otherwise, you may purchase
+
a phone here. Phones cost about $40 and usage charges are
+
based on the amount of minutes used. Phone cards are sold
+
for $5 per card and these basic costs have been calculated
+
into your living allowance.
+
  
Peace Corps will provide one satellite phone to each warden
+
• Two pairs dress pants
for a clustered group of Volunteers. It is for emergency
+
• Two to four pairs of casual pants (including jeans which in Nicaragua can be worn in the professional setting as well)
communications and Peace Corps business only and is not
+
• Two to three dresses and/or skirts for women (cultural norms generally do not stipulate long-length skirts, shorter lengths are permissible)
available for personal calls, incoming or outgoing.
+
• Two or three long-sleeved shirts or blouses
 +
• Several short-sleeved shirts or blouses (polos are recommended by male Volunteers)
 +
• Several T-shirts and tank tops for casual wear
 +
• Lightweight jacket or cotton sweater for breezy days
 +
• Fleece sweatshirt or insulated jacket (for mountainous, cooler areas)
 +
• One nice outfit for special occasions, especially the Swearing-In Ceremony (sport coat or dress shirt and tie for men, nice dress or skirt for women)
 +
• Rain gear: lightweight raincoat (with hood), poncho, and/or durable umbrella
 +
• Swimsuit 
 +
• Three to four pairs of shorts/capris
 +
• Exercise wear (e.g., sports bras [hard to find locally] and bicycle shorts) as some larger cities have gyms or aerobic classes
 +
• Good supply of socks (those with a cotton-polyester blend last longer and dry quicker)
 +
• A three to four week supply of underwear (cotton is best)
 +
• 3-4 good bras for women Volunteers (items of comparable quality to U.S. brands can be expensive)
 +
• Sleepwear
 +
• Lightweight robe
 +
• Belt
 +
• Hat or cap for sun protection
  
If you have your own laptop, a solution that may be of interest
+
*Current Volunteers have also suggested making sure to include casual evening clothes as there are opportunities to go out in most cities.  
is the use of a data card. Several cellphone companies offer
+
Internet service through cellphone technology. You can
+
purchase a data card and it calls a nearby cellphone tower for
+
service. It is slow, but works in most towns. The data card is
+
currently available for $129 and the monthly fee is $59, but
+
this may go up. The bandwidth is around 64/32 kbs. If you
+
have a newer laptop that requires the more sophisticated
+
“smartcard” then you may need to buy a compatible cellphone
+
that can attach to your computer or you may wish to bring a
+
separate data card reading device. Some of the major cities
+
have limited wireless locations. There are also small Internet
+
cafes opening in Monrovia and a few of the major cities.
+
  
===Housing and Site Location===
+
Shoes:
 +
• One or two pairs of shoes for professional wear (nicer sandals or comfortable closed-toed shoes that you would be able to walk long distances in if needed)
 +
• One pair of tennis or running shoes
 +
• One to two pair of sandals for casual wear (includes Chacos, Tevas, Keens, etc.)
 +
• Flip-flops or other shoes for the shower (also available locally)
 +
 +
*Hiking boots are suggested if you are a serious hiker and plan to do some intense excursions, but many Volunteers have found that the extra bulk of boots is a burden and that they are not necessary for most outdoor activities.
  
Housing is in short supply in many regions of Liberia, so be
+
Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items:
prepared for very basic housing.
+
  
Volunteers are assigned to work under various ministries,
+
• Small (travel size) supply of toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, soap (and dish), sunscreen, etc. to use upon first arrival and to refill for short trips that you might take. You will be able to find these items, even American brand names, readily available and affordable.
but at the comunity level. Volunteer housing is provided by
+
• Any makeup that you might want to use (small availability in country and expensive)
the host country; the ministries collaborate with local school
+
• Contact solution (if you choose to wear contact lenses, solution is not provided by Peace Corps and difficult to find)
authorities, community leaders, and partner organizations
+
• A three- to six month supply of tampons (the local selection is limited and more expensive than in the United States; many female volunteers have tampons sent to them in packages from home; pads are readily available in country) OR as an alternative to tampons, some female Volunteers suggest investing in a Diva Cup or Keeper
to secure housing. Some of the homes are equipped with
+
• Any special products that you use (i.e. special brand of deodorant, hair products, face wash, razor blades etc.)
electricity that may be provided for several hours daily, usually
+
in the evening. Some homes will not have any electricity.
+
Water will be available, but usually from nearby pumps and
+
will have to be carried to the house.
+
  
Most Volunteers are assigned to schools and organizations in
+
*The Peace Corps Nicaragua Medical Office provides your medication, but also sunscreen, insect repellent, vitamins, Band-Aids, condoms, and you can replace most of what is provided for you in the medical kit you will receive once in country. Do not over pack on these items.
rural towns. Your workplace will be within walking distance
+
of your home, but it might be a long walk! Dependent on
+
community need, Peace Corps makes every effort to cluster
+
Volunteers within reasonable distances of each other in order
+
to promote collaborative efforts and minimize isolation. Some
+
Volunteers might be placed in the same community. In this
+
situation, Volunteers might have to share a house.
+
You must be prepared to accept the living conditions to
+
which you are assigned as you will be living under the same
+
conditions as the people with and for whom you work. Peace
+
Corps inspects all potential housing to ensure it meets our
+
standards for health and safety.
+
  
===Living Allowance and Money Management===
+
Kitchen:
  
Volunteers will receive a settling-in allowance to purchase the
+
• Special spices/seasoning that you enjoy using at home and are difficult to find in Nicaragua (taco seasoning, garlic pepper, lemon pepper, and Italian seasoning to name a few)
basics they need, such as bedding, dishes, etc. The price of
+
• Recipes
purchasing a local cellphone has been incorporated as well.
+
• Mess kit (useful when cooking on your own before buying a whole dishware/cookware set)
In addition, you will receive a monthly living allowance for
+
• Tupperware/Gladware plastic containers
your food and other expenses. It will be important to budget
+
• Measuring cups/spoons (difficult to find)
your funds.
+
  
The banking system in Liberia is rebuilding from the long
+
Electronics:
period of war. There are not a lot of bank branches up-country
+
and there are no ATM machines. The banks intend to open
+
them over time, so this may happen during your tenure in
+
Liberia. Until that time, you will likely have to travel some
+
distance to banking facilities in another town.
+
  
Liberia is a cash economy and credit cards are not accepted.
+
All electronics are very expensive in Nicaragua. Volunteers suggest bringing these from home. You might want to consider getting personal property insurance if your electronics are especially valuable.
There are a few retailers in Monrovia who will cash a U.S.
+
personal check for a fee. You may bring travelers checks, but
+
there are only a couple of places that take them. Peace Corps/
+
Liberia is able to lock up any Volunteers’ traveler’s checks and
+
credit cards for safekeeping so you can use them when you
+
travel internationally.
+
  
===Food and Diet===
+
• Laptop or netbook (Internet access is available throughout Nicaragua and Volunteers find personal laptops helpful in writing work reports, other work related letters/grants/budget proposals, and for communication purposes)
 +
• Portable DVD player
 +
• Digital camera
 +
• USB, thumb/flash drive
 +
• iPod, MP3 player, or small radio
 +
• Speakers
 +
• Surge protector
  
In Liberia, rice is the staple. If someone does not have rice to
+
*Most Volunteers purchase inexpensive cell phones after several weeks in country (the system is set up to “pay-as-you-go” and you are able to make calls to the U.S. as well as in country)
eat in a day, the person may feel as if he or she has not eaten.
+
Other favorite foods include plantains, fufu, and dumboy. The
+
latter are paste balls made out of various root vegetables and
+
have a consistency of tapioca.
+
  
The typical meal is a sauce called “soup” or “gravy” poured
+
Other Suggestions:
over rice. They can be thick stews of vegetables (such as okra
+
• Inexpensive battery-powered watch and/or travel alarm clock
or greens) with meat and/or fish or more of a broth with meat
+
• A set of sheets (double-size flat sheets will fit any bed)
and vegetables. Frequently a combination of meats is used
+
• Two lightweight bath towels and washcloths (quick-dry towels can be found at most outdoor gear stores and are recommended by many Volunteers)
in the soup. The meat is not trimmed the way Americans are
+
• Swiss Army knife and/or utility tool
accustomed, so there are frequently bones or cartilage. The
+
• Sewing kit
variety may be beef (“cow meat”), chicken, or “country meat”
+
• Ziplock bags (for keeping things dry and/or free of dust) 
(which is usually game). Fish may be fresh, dried or smoked.
+
• Bandanas or handkerchiefs
 +
• Earplugs (also very difficult to find in country)
 +
• Posters for decorating your home (and mounting material i.e. tacks)
 +
• 1-2 pairs of sunglasses
 +
• Large duffel bag or hiking backpack for traveling
 +
• Tote bag or daypack for traveling to school or around town
 +
• Gardening gloves and tools 
 +
• Sturdy water bottle
 +
• Workout materials (such as a jump rope or resistance bands)
 +
• Headlamp and/or good flashlight
 +
• Extra batteries
 +
• Pictures of family and friends to share with members of your community (they also come in handy when you are trying to practice your Spanish and talk about home)  
 +
• Small amount of school supplies (markers, glue, scissors, stickers, etc.) to use in schools and with youth and community groups
 +
• Games (cards, travel board games, an American football, frisbee, etc.)
 +
• Resource book (for teachers)
  
If meat or fish is not available, peanuts are always a good
+
*The Peace Corps Office has a fully stocked library full of many resource books as well as novels and other reading material. Instead of packing a lot books initially (which can be heavy and bulky), consider bringing one or two and then having more sent to you or using/trading those in the PC Office.
source of protein. There are not a lot of vegetarians in Liberia,
+
so most cooked dishes will have meat in them. If you have the
+
ability to remove the meat and eat the rest of the dish, then
+
you will have more dietary choices. Strict vegetarians and
+
vegans will be challenged.
+
 
+
Liberians love their hot peppers, so they can be cooked into
+
the soup, added whole, or made into a pepper sauce.
+
 
+
Liberia is graced with wonderful fruits. The pineapples are
+
sweet and bananas are plentiful. Papaya, coconuts, and
+
mangos are also grown locally. In season, fruits and vegetables
+
are a good buy. Out of season, specific fruits may be
+
unavailable and also unevenly distributed across the nation.
+
It can be challenging to eat a well-balanced meal during some
+
seasons and the variety of foods may be limited.
+
 
+
Access to western style foods may also be very limited, so
+
you will have to adapt your diet (and tastes) to local foods.
+
Normally, you will do your shopping at the local market every
+
few days, but some items might have to be purchased at a
+
larger town nearby.
+
 
+
Liberia is a country with chronic malnutrition. The worldwide
+
food crisis has created higher prices for rice, but it is still
+
available. There is local rice production and “country rice” is
+
delicious. The country is fertile and there is a governmental
+
program to promote farming to enhance food production that
+
was interrupted by the war.
+
 
+
===Transportation===
+
 
+
Transportation will be as challenging as any Peace Corps
+
country, with Volunteers primarily using public transportation.
+
Up-country, there are small taxi cars, medium-size taxi buses
+
(minivan types), and trucks. In cars, there are usually two
+
passengers in the front passenger seat and four or more in the
+
back seat. In minivans, there are five to a row and an extra
+
row has been added for a capacity of 20.
+
 
+
Motorcycle taxis have become widely used in Liberia. Due to
+
safety concerns, Peace Corps Volunteers are not permitted to
+
use them. If Volunteers wish to purchase a bicycle, they will
+
be provided with helmets and instructed on the bicycle
+
safety policy.
+
 
+
Vehicles from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and
+
United Nations agencies (WFP, UNHCR, UNICEF) traverse
+
the country and sometimes are good options, based on
+
relationships and friendships. Volunteers should avoid using
+
U.N. Peacekeeper military transportation, unless it is an
+
extreme emergency, to avoid any appearance of an association
+
between the military and the Peace Corps.
+
 
+
When coming to Monrovia, Volunteers should try to travel
+
in pairs. Once in Monrovia, there is a special transportation
+
policy and a list of trusted drivers that Peace Corps
+
Volunteers may call upon.
+
 
+
===Geography and Climate===
+
 
+
The climate, especially on the coast, is warm and humid yearround,
+
dominated by a dry season from November to April
+
and a rainy season from May to October. The dusty and dry
+
harmattan (desert winds) blow from the Sahara to the coast
+
in December, bringing relief from the high relative humidity.
+
Deforestation and drought in the Sahel have affected the
+
climate, lengthening the dry season by almost a month in
+
some areas.
+
 
+
Mean annual temperatures range between 65 degrees
+
Fahrenheit (18 Celsius) in the northern highlands to 80 F (27
+
C) along the coast. Rainfall is irregular, and the rainy season
+
varies in intensity and begins earlier on the coast than the
+
interior. The greatest amount of rainfall, 205 inches (5,200
+
millimeters), occurs at Cape Mount and diminishes inland to
+
about 70 inches on the central plateau. The interior has hot
+
but pleasant days and cool nights during the dry season.
+
Source: http://www.britannica.com
+
 
+
===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior===
+
 
+
While the heat and humidity might make casual attire
+
preferable, there are certain dress standards that must
+
be respected.
+
 
+
Peace Corps Volunteers are professionals who bring
+
their expertise to assist Liberian institutions. As such, a
+
professional demeanor and appearance is expected. This can
+
be challenging to Americans, who often pride themselves on
+
individuality, but appropriate dress, both on and off the job,
+
is required.
+
 
+
Being neat and cleanly dressed in a culturally appropriate
+
manner is a sign of respect and pride. Worn, dirty, or ripped
+
clothing is unacceptable. While clothes may have quite a bit
+
of wear and tear due to rough washing, transportation, and
+
manual labor, great care should be taken to be neat, clean,
+
and presentable.
+
 
+
Long hair and long beards are not normal for men in this
+
society. While there is no restriction in place, please be aware
+
that a male Volunteer with long hair or a long beard will
+
attract unwanted attention and might have to work harder to
+
prove his professionalism. Shorts are normally worn by boys
+
or students rather than men. It is appropriate to wear shorts
+
for sporting events or around the house and yard; otherwise,
+
pants or jeans are appropriate.
+
 
+
Short skirts (short is defined as anything above the knee),
+
tops that expose your stomach or lower back, low-rise jeans/
+
pants, backless dresses, spaghetti strap tops, and shorts
+
(outside of sporting activities) are considered inappropriate
+
for female Volunteers. If shorts are worn for exercise, they
+
should be longer shorts – preferably to the knee. Slacks are
+
acceptable for women, although most women will wear skirts
+
or dresses. All dresses and skirts should cover the knees, even
+
when sitting. For women, inappropriate dress could attract
+
unwanted attention and even be a cause for harrassment.
+
 
+
Visible tattoos and body piercing may attract unwanted
+
attention and commentary. Earrings and nose rings on men
+
may create concerns among supervisors and counterparts, or
+
minimally, bring several questions and unwanted attention.
+
 
+
Going barefoot or wearing flip-flops outside of one’s home
+
is not acceptable in Liberian society and considered
+
unprofessional or even disrespectful. Sandals and closed-toe
+
shoes are best. In the rainy season, there is a lot of mud, and
+
in the dry season, there is a lot of dust. Shoes that can be
+
washed are ideal.
+
 
+
Village attire and city attire might differ. If you are unsure
+
about how to dress in a certain situation, it is better to be
+
over-dressed rather than under-dressed. You may also ask
+
Liberian friends, counterparts, or staff members for advice.
+
 
+
===Personal Safety===
+
 
+
More detailed information about the Peace Corps’ approach
+
to safety is 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 Liberia Volunteers
+
are likely to complete their service without incident. 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 Liberia. At the
+
same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your
+
safety and well-being.
+
 
+
Each staff member at the Peace Corps is committed
+
to providing Volunteers with the support they need to
+
successfully meet the challenges they will face to have a safe,
+
healthy, and productive service. We encourage Volunteers and
+
families to look at our safety and security information on the
+
Peace Corps website at www.peacecorps.gov/safety.
+
 
+
Information on these pages gives messages on Volunteer
+
health and Volunteer safety. A video message from the
+
Director is on this page, as well as a section titled “Safety and
+
Security in Depth.” This page lists topics ranging from the
+
risks of serving as a Volunteer to posts’ safety support systems
+
to emergency planning and communications.
+
 
+
===Rewards and Frustrations===
+
 
+
Your greatest reward will be basking in the wonderful
+
reputation of Peace Corps Volunteers in Liberia. Your
+
predecessors have created a legacy that will help you as you
+
work, live, and travel in Liberia. Liberians genuinely love
+
Peace Corps Volunteers. Anyone over the age of 30 likely had
+
a PCV teacher. You will find that younger Liberians may not
+
be as familiar with Peace Corps as their parents, so you may
+
have to explain it to them.
+
 
+
As a foreigner, there will be a perception that you are wealthy
+
and people may ask you for money and favors. These may
+
range from small requests to borrow items up to paying for a
+
college education. You should be honest and tell people you
+
are not in a position to help someone financially.
+
 
+
The infrastructure of the country was destroyed by the war,
+
so you will need patience. Simple tasks take longer, like
+
making a phone call when the call is dropped or the service is
+
temporarily unavailable. Transportation is a huge challenge,
+
with the difficult roads and shortage of public transportation.
+
Also, since this is a newer post, it will take time to work out
+
all of the systems, policies, and procedures. You will need to
+
be patient.
+
 
+
Life for a Peace Corps Volunteer can be in a “fishbowl”;
+
everyone will be curious and interested in all of your
+
activities. You will need to manage all of the attention you
+
receive, be it welcome or unwelcome. You will need to be
+
sensitive to the fact that you represent Peace Corps 24 hours
+
a day, seven days a week. You will need to consider your
+
actions so the Volunteers who come after you will benefit
+
from the same excellent Peace Corps reputation that you
+
will enjoy.
+

Revision as of 20:43, 28 July 2011

Revised Packing List for Peace Corps Nicaragua

This list has been compiled and revised by Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving in Nicaragua and is based on their experience. Use this information as a guide for packing, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. Obviously, you cannot bring everything mentioned here, so please consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. As you decide what to bring, remember that there are weight limitations depending on the airline and the amount of luggage that Peace Corps will cover (80 lbs). You can buy a lot of what you need in Nicaragua, but some items are either difficult to come across in rural areas and some things are expensive (comparatively to the States and in relation to Volunteer salary).

FYI: Many great brands offer discounts for Peace Corps Volunteers (Eagle Creek, Timbuk2, ExOfficio, Keen, Chaco, Teva). Make sure to ask if a discount applies when you are buying new items. You may have to provide a copy of your acceptance letter.

General Clothing Items:

Keep in mind: Clothing stores are accessible in Nicaragua and many Volunteers buy used U.S. clothing in thrift shops. Personal items, such as underwear, tend to be more difficult to find. Clothes are generally washed with cold water on a concrete washboard and are hung to dry. Cottons and linens are breathable, which is good for the hot weather, but stretch and wear out quickly; also consider bringing some clothes made of fabrics that tend to hold their shape better and last longer (i.e. nylon, spandex, and polyester blends). Some Volunteers found that purchasing a lot of REI-type camping clothing was unnecessary and made them stand out because the local people do not wear similar attire, but that buying a good pair of shoes was well worth the investment.

• Two pairs dress pants • Two to four pairs of casual pants (including jeans which in Nicaragua can be worn in the professional setting as well) • Two to three dresses and/or skirts for women (cultural norms generally do not stipulate long-length skirts, shorter lengths are permissible) • Two or three long-sleeved shirts or blouses • Several short-sleeved shirts or blouses (polos are recommended by male Volunteers) • Several T-shirts and tank tops for casual wear • Lightweight jacket or cotton sweater for breezy days • Fleece sweatshirt or insulated jacket (for mountainous, cooler areas) • One nice outfit for special occasions, especially the Swearing-In Ceremony (sport coat or dress shirt and tie for men, nice dress or skirt for women) • Rain gear: lightweight raincoat (with hood), poncho, and/or durable umbrella • Swimsuit • Three to four pairs of shorts/capris • Exercise wear (e.g., sports bras [hard to find locally] and bicycle shorts) as some larger cities have gyms or aerobic classes • Good supply of socks (those with a cotton-polyester blend last longer and dry quicker) • A three to four week supply of underwear (cotton is best) • 3-4 good bras for women Volunteers (items of comparable quality to U.S. brands can be expensive) • Sleepwear • Lightweight robe • Belt • Hat or cap for sun protection

  • Current Volunteers have also suggested making sure to include casual evening clothes as there are opportunities to go out in most cities.

Shoes: • One or two pairs of shoes for professional wear (nicer sandals or comfortable closed-toed shoes that you would be able to walk long distances in if needed) • One pair of tennis or running shoes • One to two pair of sandals for casual wear (includes Chacos, Tevas, Keens, etc.) • Flip-flops or other shoes for the shower (also available locally)

  • Hiking boots are suggested if you are a serious hiker and plan to do some intense excursions, but many Volunteers have found that the extra bulk of boots is a burden and that they are not necessary for most outdoor activities.

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items:

• Small (travel size) supply of toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, soap (and dish), sunscreen, etc. to use upon first arrival and to refill for short trips that you might take. You will be able to find these items, even American brand names, readily available and affordable. • Any makeup that you might want to use (small availability in country and expensive) • Contact solution (if you choose to wear contact lenses, solution is not provided by Peace Corps and difficult to find) • A three- to six month supply of tampons (the local selection is limited and more expensive than in the United States; many female volunteers have tampons sent to them in packages from home; pads are readily available in country) OR as an alternative to tampons, some female Volunteers suggest investing in a Diva Cup or Keeper • Any special products that you use (i.e. special brand of deodorant, hair products, face wash, razor blades etc.)

  • The Peace Corps Nicaragua Medical Office provides your medication, but also sunscreen, insect repellent, vitamins, Band-Aids, condoms, and you can replace most of what is provided for you in the medical kit you will receive once in country. Do not over pack on these items.

Kitchen:

• Special spices/seasoning that you enjoy using at home and are difficult to find in Nicaragua (taco seasoning, garlic pepper, lemon pepper, and Italian seasoning to name a few) • Recipes • Mess kit (useful when cooking on your own before buying a whole dishware/cookware set) • Tupperware/Gladware plastic containers • Measuring cups/spoons (difficult to find)

Electronics:

All electronics are very expensive in Nicaragua. Volunteers suggest bringing these from home. You might want to consider getting personal property insurance if your electronics are especially valuable.

• Laptop or netbook (Internet access is available throughout Nicaragua and Volunteers find personal laptops helpful in writing work reports, other work related letters/grants/budget proposals, and for communication purposes) • Portable DVD player • Digital camera • USB, thumb/flash drive • iPod, MP3 player, or small radio • Speakers • Surge protector

  • Most Volunteers purchase inexpensive cell phones after several weeks in country (the system is set up to “pay-as-you-go” and you are able to make calls to the U.S. as well as in country)

Other Suggestions: • Inexpensive battery-powered watch and/or travel alarm clock • A set of sheets (double-size flat sheets will fit any bed) • Two lightweight bath towels and washcloths (quick-dry towels can be found at most outdoor gear stores and are recommended by many Volunteers) • Swiss Army knife and/or utility tool • Sewing kit • Ziplock bags (for keeping things dry and/or free of dust) • Bandanas or handkerchiefs • Earplugs (also very difficult to find in country) • Posters for decorating your home (and mounting material i.e. tacks) • 1-2 pairs of sunglasses • Large duffel bag or hiking backpack for traveling • Tote bag or daypack for traveling to school or around town • Gardening gloves and tools • Sturdy water bottle • Workout materials (such as a jump rope or resistance bands) • Headlamp and/or good flashlight • Extra batteries • Pictures of family and friends to share with members of your community (they also come in handy when you are trying to practice your Spanish and talk about home) • Small amount of school supplies (markers, glue, scissors, stickers, etc.) to use in schools and with youth and community groups • Games (cards, travel board games, an American football, frisbee, etc.) • Resource book (for teachers)

  • The Peace Corps Office has a fully stocked library full of many resource books as well as novels and other reading material. Instead of packing a lot books initially (which can be heavy and bulky), consider bringing one or two and then having more sent to you or using/trading those in the PC Office.