Packing list for Benin

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(New page: This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in China and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is indivi...)
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 +
These lists have been compiled by Volunteers serving in
 +
Benin and are based on their experiences. Use it as an
 +
informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that
 +
experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You can
 +
always have things sent to you later. 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 restriction on baggage. And remember, you
 +
can get almost everything you need in Benin. Clothing can
 +
very easily be tailor-made from local fabrics. Second-hand
 +
clothing is also very popular across Benin and is available in
 +
many markets. It is not necessary to bring a large amount of
 +
clothing. Nice-quality shoes and sandals can also be made incountry.
 +
Luggage should be durable, lightweight, and easy to carry
 +
as you will be responsible for transporting it in-country.
 +
Duffel bags and backpacks without frames work well. A good
 +
backpack is priceless because you will likely travel in-country
 +
regularly. Almost all the basic items you need can be found
 +
here; however, they may not be good quality or they may be
 +
expensive. So, if you are particular about something, bring
 +
lots!
-
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in China 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.  You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in China.
+
Necessities
-
 
+
* Two sturdy water bottles (e.g., Nalgene) or camelback
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===General Clothing===
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* Nickel metal hydride rechargeable batteries (the
-
 
+
longest lasting)
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* SmartWool socks
+
* Battery charger—solar powered or plug in
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* Good cotton underwear
+
* Two pair prescription eyeglasses, consider prescription
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* Two-three pairs of khakis and two pairs of comfortable pants for leisure and travel (one pair of jeans and one pair of pants with zip off legs)
+
sunglasses as well
-
* Four to six business casual shirts (men should have at least one shirt with a collar that can be worn with a tie)
+
* A nice dressy outfit for first week dinner with officials
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* One dressy outfit (a sport coat and a tie for men, a dress/skirt for women)
+
and for going out
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* A good raincoat (a light raincoat, since it rains more in the summer)
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* Flashlight or headlamp with batteries and replacement
-
* Two pairs of long underwear (light/medium)
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bulb
-
* Winter coat, gloves, hat, and scarf
+
* Two bathing suits (no bikinis for women)
-
* One or two heavy wool sweaters
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* Sunglasses (two pair)
-
* Two to four long-sleeved shirts for layering
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* English dictionary
-
* Shorts for sports/leisure
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* Nice comfortable shoes (nice sandals, Tevas, Chacos)
-
* Two to four casual shirts for travel/leisure shirts with a little spandex are great since your clothes will stretch out)
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* One pair of dress shoes
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* Pantyhose or tights (thick cotton or wool tights are important if you plan to wear skirts or dresses in the winter)
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* Professional clothing in breathable fabrics (two outfits
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* Easy-care skirts (not too short, at least knee-length), and maybe a wool skirt for winter
+
minimum for TEFL Volunteers)
-
* One or two short-sleeved or sleeveless dresses (no spaghetti straps) for summer Shoes
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* Plenty and durable cotton T-shirts (many Volunteers
-
 
+
prefer darker colors)
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Note that good shoes are available in China but only in smaller sizes (up to size 8 for women and up to size 9 for men).
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* Pants (of lightweight material)
-
 
+
* Blouses/button-down shirts
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* One pair of sneakers (brand names are available locally but American prices)  
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* Linen/cotton clothing (you can find linen and cotton
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* One pair of teaching shoes (sturdy, comfortable, warm for winter)
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here and get clothing made; dresses/skirts must be at
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* One pair of sturdy sandals (leather is recommended) to wear in the warm season
+
least knee-length)
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* One pair of waterproof hiking boots
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* Hats/scarf/bandannas
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* One pair of dress shoes
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* Good sturdy bras (bring lots because hand washing
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* One pair of “kick-around” shoes.
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wears them out)
-
 
+
* Good underwear (bring a two-year supply; hand
-
===Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items===
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washing wears them out)
-
 
+
* Good pair of tennis shoes
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* Deodorant (can be difficult to find in China)  
+
* Sweater, sweatshirt, or long-sleeve shirt
-
* A three-month supply of any prescription drugs you take (to have while the medical office orders your medication)  
+
* Workout clothes (if you work out)
-
* Contact lens solutions (available locally; note that the Peace Corps does not recommend wearing contact lenses, but most Volunteers who choose to have been able to wear them. You should still bring two pairs of glasses)  
+
* Pictures from home
-
* Any special makeup, facial soaps, or lotions you might want
+
* USB flash drive (important for storing documents as
-
* Tampons (hard to find in-country)
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diskettes fail quickly from dust/humidity and Volunteer
-
 
+
computers don’t burn CDs)
-
===Kitchen===
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* Camera and film (lots!)
-
 
+
* Short-wave radio or World Space Radio
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Most cooking supplies are available in-country, including eating and cooking utensils.
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* Duct tape
-
 
+
* Medium book bag (for three- to four-day trips)
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* Spices: basil, thyme, sage, or other Western seasonings you use (can be purchased in Chengdu, but are nice to bring if you have favorites)
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* Hairbrush or comb
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* A coffeemaker if you drink coffee (available locally but American prices); a French press is a good alternative and can be bought in Chengdu and at some other sites
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* Three-month supply of prescription drugs
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* Baking pans and measuring cups (if you love to bake and want to buy a toaster oven in chengdu—or maybe a former Volunteer left you one—you might need some supplies!)
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* Watch
-
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* Portable alarm clock
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===Miscellaneous===
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* Leatherman or Swiss army knife (remember to pack in
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+
your suitcase as checked luggage)
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* Locks for travel and to keep valuables secure in your residence
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* Towel (travel/camping ones work well because they dry
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* Money belt or neck pouch
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quickly)
-
* Sleeping bag that packs small for travel/warmth in winter
+
Specifically for Women
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* Swiss army knife or Leatherman tool
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* Northern Benin is Muslim. Your shoulders and knees
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* Watch (durable, water-resistant)  
+
need to be covered, so pack accordingly.
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* Camera, filters, and extra lens cap; batteries are available locally but may be difficult to find
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* In the south and in some northern cities things are
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* Small gifts such as stickers, stamps, coins, maps, key chains, etc.
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more liberal, so you can bring tank tops (not spaghetti
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* Headlamp (great for travel and working in the dark when you need both hands)
+
straps).
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* Duct tape
+
* Linen pants are great!
-
* Musical instruments if you play (also available locally at fairly reasonable prices)
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Not necessary but useful for some Volunteers
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* Stain stick for laundry (your clothes will get filthy so bring a few) 81
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* Wall calendar
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* Earplugs (for the loud 6 a.m. wakeup call on campus)  
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* One set of sheets (in-country sheets are very low
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* Fitted sheets and pillowcases (schools provide sheets, but they are not fitted); perhaps flannel for winter
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quality)
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* Pictures of clothing from catalogs if you plan to have clothes made  
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* Language materials (French)
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* Games such as Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Taboo, Scattergories, and chess
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* Adaptor (if bringing electrical appliances)
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* Frisbee
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* CDs (bring lots—you will be listening to them for two
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* Lonely Planet or Rough Guide to China
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years)
-
* Mandarin Chinese phrase book  
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* CD player (portable with speakers or small batteryoperated
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* Checkbook (note that checks written from your U.S. bank account can take 40 days to clear at the local bank)  
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one)
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* Books to supplement those assigned by the college.
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* Tupperware
-
 
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* Plastic storage bags (e.g., Ziploc)
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These might include:
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* Raincoat/poncho
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+
* Yoga mat or Therm-a-Rest (for when you or a friend
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* The ESL Miscellany: A Treasury of Cultural and Linguistic Information: New 21st Century by Raymond C. Clark (Pro Lingua Associates, revised edition 2004)  
+
needs to sleep on the floor)
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* High school history books  
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* Money belt
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* Books about your city or area
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* U.S. stamps (can easily be sent to you by mail)
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* Children’s books (the pictures can be useful)  
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* Beauty products/ pampering things for de-stressing (if
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* Books about U.S. holidays or customs
+
you use them)
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* Literature anthologies
+
* Money (in large denominations, $50, $100, traveler’s
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* General references like a world almanac
+
checks, euros)
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* A writing and grammar handbook
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* Your favorite pillow (ones here are not the greatest) or
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* Activity books for English conversation and environmental classes Note: Books are really heavy to pack. The Peace Corps Information and Resource Center (IRC) is a great resource, as well as the Book Aid International program. Many reference materials are also available online. It may be more effective to bring a flash disk with your favorite handouts and lessons, and to print those things in-country. Family and friends can also send books from home if needed.  
+
travel pillow
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* Pictures or slides of your family, hometown, and “typical” America (supermarkets, schools, street scenes, historical sites, weddings and other celebrations)  
+
* Spices/spice packets
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* World atlas and maps of the world, United States, your state, etc.
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* Catalogue of clothing (to show to tailor to get copies
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* Restaurant menus, job application forms, sales announcements, product catalogs, college brochures, recycling handouts, and sightseeing brochures to use in classes
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made)
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* A key chain with a small flashlight attached
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* Good pens (if they are important to you)
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* Copies of your diploma and teaching certificates (universities may ask for these)  
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* Good flashlight
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* Calendar (hard to find here)  
+
TEFL-Specific Suggestions
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* Picture frames (also hard to find; if you like frames for your family pictures, etc., bring some)  
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* Art supplies (markers, crayons, paints, construction
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* Documents from home (if you are considering a future move such as graduate school, etc. It will make your life much easier if you bring certain documents or copies from home [e.g., GRE scores, an unofficial transcript]; if you own a house and are renting, bring a copy of your lease, and if you may sell your house, pack a copy of deed information)  
+
paper, rubber cement, etc.)
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* Laptop
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* Children’s books
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* iPod or mp3 player, CDs, speakers
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* World map/map of Africa (can get free from AAA if
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* Contact information for former employers, references, schools, election office (to request an absentee ballot), bank
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member)
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* Hard and electronic copies of resume
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* Calculator
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* Checkbook and ATM card tied to account
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* Stapler
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* Credit card
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* Appointment book
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* Power of attorney
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* Books on CD (there are computers at work stations and in
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+
some schools; they are smaller than books, easy to pack,
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You may consider having some things, like heavy and bulky winter clothing, sent to you after you have arrived at your site, or you may consider bringing funds to purchase clothing (depending on your size). The key is to bring what you love and don’t bring too much!
+
and can be useful (e.g., encyclopedias, journals, etc.)
 +
* Stickers (can be easily sent here, too)
 +
* Blank cassettes (for making listening comprehensions)
 +
Gift Ideas for Host Families
 +
(not necessary, can be bought here, too)
 +
* Coloring books
 +
* Dollar store stuff (tacky is good here!)
 +
* Candy
 +
* Pocket knives
 +
* T-shirts
 +
* Flashlights
 +
* Karate/action movies on VCD (not regular DVD!)
 +
* UNO
 +
* Tape player/recorder
 +
Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
 +
Almost every type of toiletry is available here, but some
 +
are quite expensive (such as shampoo, deodorant, hair
 +
conditioner, facial creams, and toners). If you prefer a certain
 +
brand name, stock up, but otherwise bring a three-month
 +
supply for the duration of training.
 +
* Tea tree oil (a useful antiseptic and anti-fungal agent)
 +
* Liquid hand sanitizer and hand wipes
 +
* Oil-free sunscreen (for the face)
 +
* Baby powder or talc
 +
* Medical supplies if special medicine is taken or a
 +
preference on certain brands
 +
* Two good-quality towels
 +
* Aloe-Vera
 +
* Tampons (three-month supply; can buy generic brands
 +
here)
 +
* Good hair conditioner
 +
* Hair ties
 +
* Nail clippers, nail file
 +
* Contact lenses and enough solution for two years
 +
(Peace Corps does not recommend wearing contacts
 +
due to dusty conditions and does not provide solution)
 +
* Deodorant (note that deodorant salt crystals work well
 +
and could last your whole service; they’re small, too!)
 +
* Shampoo and conditioner
 +
* Q-tips
 +
* Basic make-up
 +
* Facial soap
 +
Kitchen
 +
* Basic cookbook and favorite recipes
 +
* Packaged mixes (sauces, salad dressings, soups,
 +
Kool-Aid, etc.)
 +
* Most spices are available, but are expensive, so stock
 +
up if you like to cook (e.g., cinnamon, Italian spices,
 +
allspice, chili powder, curry)
 +
* Freeze-dried foods
 +
* Low-cal sweetener
 +
* Boxed macaroni and cheese
 +
* French press (if you like coffee)
 +
* Good-quality can opener
 +
* Good-quality potato peeler
 +
* Good-quality garlic press
 +
* Measuring cups and spoons
 +
* Good-quality Teflon frying pan
 +
* Good-quality knife
 +
* Pepper grinder
 +
* Any other small kitchen supplies that you like to use
[[Category:Benin]]
[[Category:Benin]]

Revision as of 18:31, 30 March 2008

These lists have been compiled by Volunteers serving in Benin and are based on their experiences. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You can always have things sent to you later. 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 restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Benin. Clothing can very easily be tailor-made from local fabrics. Second-hand clothing is also very popular across Benin and is available in many markets. It is not necessary to bring a large amount of clothing. Nice-quality shoes and sandals can also be made incountry. Luggage should be durable, lightweight, and easy to carry as you will be responsible for transporting it in-country. Duffel bags and backpacks without frames work well. A good backpack is priceless because you will likely travel in-country regularly. Almost all the basic items you need can be found here; however, they may not be good quality or they may be expensive. So, if you are particular about something, bring lots!

Necessities

longest lasting)

sunglasses as well

and for going out

bulb

minimum for TEFL Volunteers)

prefer darker colors)

here and get clothing made; dresses/skirts must be at least knee-length)

wears them out)

washing wears them out)

diskettes fail quickly from dust/humidity and Volunteer computers don’t burn CDs)

your suitcase as checked luggage)

quickly) Specifically for Women

need to be covered, so pack accordingly.

more liberal, so you can bring tank tops (not spaghetti straps).

Not necessary but useful for some Volunteers

quality)

years)

one)

needs to sleep on the floor)

you use them)

checks, euros)

travel pillow

made)

TEFL-Specific Suggestions

paper, rubber cement, etc.)

member)

some schools; they are smaller than books, easy to pack, and can be useful (e.g., encyclopedias, journals, etc.)

Gift Ideas for Host Families (not necessary, can be bought here, too)

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items Almost every type of toiletry is available here, but some are quite expensive (such as shampoo, deodorant, hair conditioner, facial creams, and toners). If you prefer a certain brand name, stock up, but otherwise bring a three-month supply for the duration of training.

preference on certain brands

here)

(Peace Corps does not recommend wearing contacts due to dusty conditions and does not provide solution)

and could last your whole service; they’re small, too!)

Kitchen

Kool-Aid, etc.)

up if you like to cook (e.g., cinnamon, Italian spices, allspice, chili powder, curry)

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