January 9, 2004 - Personal Web Site: I promised to post the Peace Corps' provided packing list for Mali for your amusement and comment

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Mali: Peace Corps Mali : The Peace Corps in Mali: January 9, 2004 - Personal Web Site: I promised to post the Peace Corps' provided packing list for Mali for your amusement and comment

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-19-87.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, January 10, 2004 - 10:24 am: Edit Post

I promised to post the Peace Corps' provided packing list for Mali for your amusement and comment

I promised to post the Peace Corps' provided packing list for Mali for your amusement and comment

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Happy Tuesday!

Did everyone enjoy their first day back at work / school after the long holiday break? Just so you don't think I'm getting cocky about not going to work I'll let you know that I spent the morning at the dentist's office. Heheheh, work and school don't sound so bad anymore, do they? It was rough going, but you'll all be glad to know my teeth are set to stay nice 'n healthy for the next two years. What? You couldn't care less? OK, then, I'll get on to the good stuff.

I promised to post the Peace Corps' provided packing list for your amusement and comment. What do you think, folks? Is there anything missing? I'll pay special attention to advice from people who have travelled to developing countries before.

What to Pack

Here are the limits:

* total 80 pounds

* maximum 2 checked bags + 1 carry-on

* no one bag can weigh more than 50 lbs

* I have to be able to carry everything I pack

More Rules:

* no pets (but I can get one once I'm there)

* no weapons

* no explosives

* no cars or motorcycles

* no radio transmitters

Got it? OK, so now here's the Packing List section of my handbook, transcribed intact (well, almost), so you can't accuse me of making stuff up or leaving stuff out. My smart alecky comments are in italics

Packing List

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Mali 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. Avoid bringing a lot of valuables and cherished items that could be lost, stolen, or ruined by the harsh climate. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Mali.

Note: all invitees need to bring 12 to 15 passport-size ID photos.

General Clothing

Malians, while not excessively formal, put a great deal of emphasis on a clean and well-kempt appearance. Women should wear below-the-knee dresses and skirts or casual slacks with tops that do not reveal too much of their chest or back. In some communities, women are expected to be modestly dressed (i.e., arms, legs, and hair covered for women), and in others, tank tops and spaghetti straps are acceptable. It is fine to dress down when you are at home or socializing with other Volunteers. Following are suggested items for both men and women.

* Two pairs of jeans or other pants in good condition

* Three to five cotton T-shirts, tank tops, or button-down shirts

* A few pairs of socks (avoid white)

* One or two pairs of shorts for sports (shorts are not worn by Malian men or women in public except to play sports)

* Sweatpants and a sweatshirt or sweater (it can get cold)

* Lightweight rain jacket

* Cotton bandanas

* Baseball cap or broad-rimmed hat

* Swimsuit

* Clothing for sleeping in common areas (boxer shorts, pajama pants, tank tops)

For Men

* "Casual dress" clothes: shirts with collars and slacks (preferably lightweight cotton)

* Two-week supply of underwear

* One dressy outfit and one tie for official functions

For Women

* One slip (preferably cotton)

* A good supply of underclothes

* Two nice outfits for official functions (below-the-knee length)

* Several dressy shirts

* Several nice, comfortable pairs of cotton pants

* Cosmetics, if you wear them

* Your favorite jewelry (but nothing too expensive or that you would be devastated to lose)


* One pair of sneakers or trail running shoes

* One pair of sandals or flip-flops (e.g., Teva, Reef, Birkenstock, or Chaco brand)

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

The Peace Corps medical kit contains almost everything you will need, though not necessarily in the brands you are accustomed to . You may want to bring a small supply of the following items to use during pre-service training.

* Shampoo and conditioner

* Deodorant

* Good razor and supply of blades (very expensive in Mali)

* Body lotion

* Sunscreen

* Special vitamins (multivitamins are provided by the Peace Corps) This must be the category for chocolate

* Allergy medication

* Two pairs of prescription glasses or contact lenses and solution

* Six-month supply of any prescription medication you take

* Nail clippers or nail clare kit

* Earplugs You Cursillistas and Tahoe ski trip folks know all about this! Lucky for my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers I don't snore. At least, not that I've heard...

* Heat rash powder


You can find almost any kitchen item in Mali. You will not need any kitchen supplies during training, so you may want to have any items you choose to bring sent to you later. Following are a few items to consider bringing.

* Cookbooks

* Good can opener or corkscrew Does this mean there is bottled wine available?

* Nonstick frying pan and a plastic spatula

* Dry sauce mixes and instant drink mixes (available in Mali but much more expensive)

* Favorite spices do rainbow sprinkles count?


* Sturdy backpacks of various sizes

* Leatherman or other multipurpose tool

* Alarm clock does this mean I won't have a pet rooster?

* Batteries (long-lasting AA, AAA, and C batteries are expensive in Mali)

* A Walkman or Discman with minispeakers (newer technology may not work in Mali)

* Plenty of your favorite tapes or CDs read Plenty of linedance music

Anything from home that will make you feel more comfortable (e.g., pictures, posters, books, journals) this must be where Longly fits in

* Camera and film (200- and 400-speed film is difficult to find locally)

* Shortwave radio or WorldSpace satellite receiver (see www.worldspace.com)

* Flashlight or headlamp

* Towel like all good Hitchhikers

* Loofah sponge

* One or two flat sheets and a pillowcase

* Combination lock (key locks are available in Mali)

* Duct tape

* Plastic bags and containers--to protect your camera, tapes, food, etc

* Good scissors (hair-cutting scissors optional)

* Sturdy sunglasses

* Sturdy but inexpensive watch, preferably waterproof

Additional Items to Consider Bringing

* U.S. and world maps

* Games--e.g., cards, chess, checkers, Frisbee, backgammon, Scrabble, Monopoly, Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, Risk by the time I come home my fellow volunteers and my new Malian friends will all be bridge-playing, linedancing, speed Scrabble lovers!

* Pocket size French-English dictionary

* Musical instrument

* Calendar

* Digital thermometer

* Notecards, stationery, good writing pens, address book, books of U.S. stamps (Volunteers traveling to the United States can mail letters for you)

* Small tool grip (including vise grip)

* Light and highly compactable sleeping bag

* Eyeglass repair kit

* Your favorite movie on DVD or video cassette (there are DVD players and VCRs at Peace Corps regional houses)

* Nunchucks OK, I'm looking for input here. This really, honestly is on the list of additional items to consider bringing. But I'm also warned against bringing weapons. What do you think? Is this a typo on the Peace Corps' list? Or do nunchucks serve some other non-weapon purpose that I'm not aware of? Are there any Ninja Turtles out there who can help me with this?

Items You Do Not Need to Bring

* Heavy coat

* A large quantity of clothes (Malian tailors are talented, and cloth is readily available)

* Camouflage or military-style clothing

* A lot of language materials

* A lot of cash

* A two-year supply of toiletries

* Pots, pans, kitchen utensils

* Water filter (provided by the Peace Corps if needed)

OK, that's it for the list. I have my backpack and two suitcases. Now it's time to start filling them up. I'm still planning to take all of the pictures I can stuff into my luggage (or onto my hard drive), so pictures are still welcome, electronic or hard copy.

Coming soon, FAQs


// posted by Leslie @ 9:16 PM

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Mali; PCVs in the Field - Mali; Blog



By Grace Gibson ( on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 11:31 am: Edit Post

We actually had a guy bring nunchucks from my stage (Denny's Stage, 04-06) It was pretty hilarious. Still don't know why it's on the list.

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