Packing list for Micronesia

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This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Micronesia 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. Although you can get almost everything you need in Micronesia, it is advisable to bring some essentials, find out what you really need once you are in-country, and then write home to have things sent to you. Having your family or friends buy what you need may be a little cheaper than buying things locally.

Be mindful that sites in Micronesia greatly vary—you won’t be able to pack for your exact location until you get your specific site placement. You may find yourself on an outer island requiring nothing more than two thus (loincloths)/or a lava-lava (sarong-type wrap skirt for women) and a spear (for fishing). Extra room in your bags to add things you obtain when you get here may be more valuable than extra things from the U.S. Locally appropriate clothing (particularly local skirts for women) is available here, and you will likely be less comfortable in skirts you bring from the states. Electronics are much more expensive here and selection is limited, so we suggest you bring what you must have from the U.S. An outer island Volunteers states that “As soon as I figured out I had an outer island location. I left about 20 pounds of things with my host family back on Pohnpei.”

Note: don’t bring anything too nice as everything will receive a lot of wear and tear and may get lost, borrowed, or taken.


Contents

General Clothing

Men

Note that lightweight slacks, flip-flops or sandals, and a nice Hawaiian-style shirt is appropriate for almost any occasion—it is considered professional for work and is also proper church attire for males.

Women

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

(a medical kit is distributed within first few days, so we are only noting items you will need in addition to that kit)


Although you will be living with a host family, eating with them, and likely using their kitchen equipment if you cook, you may choose to bring some items of your own (on most islands, your host family may be resistant to the idea of a male PCV cooking)

What Not To Bring:

Don’t count on bringing the item home with you at the end of your service. If you are on an outer island, you may not have regular access to electricity. The Peace Corps office on each island has a shared PCV computer that you will have limited access to. Many local schools have computers that you will likely have some access to if you are assigned to a school. Laptops can be extremely useful to some PCVs, but some PCVs find the hassle and worries of having one are greater than the advantages. Others are extremely glad that they brought them. Some PCVs find that a USB storage device (jumpdrive, memory stick) gives them great flexibility to work on a variety of computers in different locations. Will bringing these items/modern conveniences enhance your Peace Corps experience or take away from it? These are personal decisions, and equipment that is invaluable for one PCV is a burden to another.

It will most likely be easier for your family to mail something to you that you forgot or later deem necessary, than to send something extra back home that you find you don’t need.

Suggestions for gifts for Host Families:

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