We hope you find these packing suggestions to be helpful, but of course it is just a suggestionslist. Tailor it to your needs…and take all recommendations with a grain of salt as, like we said before, it depends!
WHAT TO PACK (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED):
ELECTRONICS: Laptop, Camera, Flash drive(s), MP3 Player, Headphones, Kindle, External hard drive (1-2 TB is not unreasonable), External speakers, and all chargers/ accessories.
– The last few things may not seem crucial, but many PC volunteers share and consume a lot of movies and TV, even the ones who were never very into it before..! As for a Kindle, personally I would not necessarily go out and buy one for PC, but if you have one or are an avid reader then consider bringing it. PCV’s share a lot of books too.
Batteries are a bit pricey in Namibia so you may want to pack a bunch and/or get your hands on some rechargeables to pack (and don’t forget the charger!).
Dress clothes for work and Peace Corps training.
Guys: dress pants, button down long- and short-sleeve shirts, ties.
Girls: dress pants, capris, or skirts below the knee. Nice tops.
Casual clothes for around your site, visiting your shopping town, going on holiday, etc. Versatile clothing that can be dressed up for work or down for casual are always good. Don’t forget clothes for sleeping/ lounging. Hat and/or sunglasses. Accessories are fine, but avoid too much bling.
Appearance is valued in Namibian culture. Clean and neat is important… And stylish is admired! I.e.: Jeans (especially skinny) are quite in fashion! Dressing fairly modestly is advised, but it’s not overly emphasized here. Exposed knees, shoulders, etc is mostly acceptable casually.
Weather will likely range from very hot to quite cold (but it depends on your site). August is late winter / early spring so you will notice mornings in Okahandja will be chilly. Layers make a nice alternative to packing heavy sweaters, etc. A jacket or fleece is a good idea, and a hat, scarf, and/or gloves for winter aren’t a bad idea either. If you like hoodies, bring a hoodie. Do keep in mind that lighter-weight materials dry more quickly and are easier to hand wash.
- Dress shoes for work (not all schools permit open-toed shoes for girls).
- Casual sandals/ shoes that are comfortable for around site and for doing a lot of walking some days.
- Chacos, Tevas, or other hard-rubber soled shoes are very commonly worn by volunteers (when appropriate) because of their comfort, durability and long life, protection from thorns, ease to clean and get the sand out of, and waterproof-ness. Also great for hiking if that’s your thing.
- Hiking shoes/ boots if you enjoy the outdoors. (Already worn-in is even better!)
- EXERCISE: Clothes and shoes. Many volunteers exercise here in Namibia more than they did at home (and enjoy the P90X workout. If you think you might join the ranks, bring small equipment like resistance bands.)
- Nalgene or other water bottles (at least 2 recommended)
- HYGIENE PRODUCTS: Deodorant may be the top one to bring in bulk from home unless you are not very picky. Tide pens are nice (and travel-sized ones can be found at Target in their small bins). As for the rest of the basics, bring at least a few week’s supply, but you can buy the necessities in town or you can buy them at better prices and with better selection in Windhoek when you go a few weeks after arriving.
- GIRLS–> Pack a good supply of tampons and/or pads. Quality here may not be to your satisfaction. Diva Cup comes highly recommended by many female volunteers.
- TRAVEL (HOLIDAY): Backpacking/ hiking pack (especially if you can see yourself going on an outdoorsy holiday, but also good for shopping trips in town). Day pack (always handy). If you are into hiking, consider bringing your sleeping bag, pad, tent, and liquid fuel camping stove. But also see “Outdoors Gear” under the next heading.
- MEMORABILIA: Photos, etc to remind you of home.
- WALLET: Driver’s License (in case you rent a car), Credit & Debit Cards, USD of $120+ (no need to convert yet).
- MISCELLANEOUS: A travel-sized umbrella is great for rain and shine (also a poncho). Swiss army knife or Leatherman multi-tool (but hide well in your checked bags as these have gone missing). Flashlight(s) (consider solar-powered ones, the ones you shake to recharge, or rechargeable batteries). Zip-lock bags in multiple sizes; Duct tape. Wristwatch is helpful for teachers for keeping track of time.
YOU CAN PACK IT OR BUY IT IN NAMIBIA:
- ELECTRONICS: Volunteers have and do buy electronics such as laptops here in Namibia. However the variety is limited and quality may not be as good as what you can get in the States with the same amount of money.
- SCHOOL SUPPLIES: You can buy everything you need here. But most of you teachers will go through a lot of pens (lots of red, some green, some black/blue), pencils, and markers. Because the quality here is sometimes disappointing, you may wish you had brought some American-made stuff…
- OUTDOORS GEAR: Again, it is possible to buy everything you need here. If you are a gear junkie or you already have a tent, sleeping bag, pad, stove, etc that is easily packed, you may be best to bring it. But you can buy it here if you are more concerned about packing space/ weight than quality, selection, and bang-for-your-buck.
- SHEETS and TOWELS
- PAD LOCKS (small-medium)
- SPICES (Specialty and Mexican-type spices are tougher to find in Namibia.)
- COFFEE (But Instant coffee can also be nice to receive in care packages.)
- CELL PHONE which takes a SIM card, but do check with your cell phone provider if it will be compatible here. Note: PC volunteers are required to have a cell phone and PC gives you an allowance for this. Most volunteers buy basic cell phones quite cheaply in Namibia (and many internet-capable phones also fall into this category).
- HOST FAMILY GIFTS such as photos, candy, stickers, t-shirts, mugs, and souvenir-type things relating to the States or where you’re from in the States or Obama. Remember to keep both, adults and kids, in mind, as well as that you will likely have 2 host families: 1 in Okahandja and 1 at site. Also it is possible to take a photo with your host family, print it at a Kodak-type machine in Windhoek, and put it in a frame as a very nice gift
DON’T PACK (BUY IT IN NAMIBIA):
- Voltage Converters or Adapters (They are reasonably priced and most likely to work.)
- Basic hygiene products in excess.
- First Aid supplies, as PC will keep you stocked. (This includes sunscreen from PC… which gets the job done, but you may like to bring a small supply of something nicer if you care).
- To pack electronics, valuables, and medications in your carry-on bag, as well as some clothes and hygiene products in case your checked bags are lost or delayed.
- To consider locking your bags with TSA locks (the ones approved by airports) or with zip ties that can be cut off. Bags are sometimes tampered with at the Jo’burg airport, but even small deterrents can make a difference.
- To Inquire about PC discounts from Chacos, Tevas, Merrell, some outdoors stores (like EMS), and maybe more! You may be required to make purchases via their websites, so do this asap to allow sufficient time for shipping.
- Not to worry too much! You will forget things, not be able to fit things, etc. Care packages from family and friends can compensate for anything you thought of in hindsight. And it is possible to buy most anything you may need in Windhoek.