Because I'm cool like that...

The adventures of a knitter in Tucson, AZ.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


The "welcome to The Gambia" book I have has a couple of lists for me. One is a list of what will be in the medical kit they will give me...I know some of the stuff I will have to change out because I am allergic to latex. Some of the things on the packing list I have, or know I will change or something. But if anyone has any ideas of stuff to add to the medical kit, or stuff to add to the packing list, or any advice espeicaly if Mike Sheppard reads this. So awsome that someone who was in The Gambia last year commented!!! The list is in text, my coments are italixs. So, any ideas, comments, suggestions, etc will be greatly appreciated

Medical Kit Contents
-Ace bandages
-Acetaminopen 325 m (Tylenol)
-American Red Cross First Aid & Saftey Handbook
-Antacid tablets (Di-Gel)
-Antibiotic ointement (Bacitracin/Neomycin/Polymycin B)
-Antifungal cream (clotrimazole)
-Antimicrobal skin cleanser (Hibiclens)
-Baby powder (Johnson's)
-Band-Aids will probobly take some of my own to be on teh safe side for non-latex
-Butterfly closures
-Cepacol lozenges
-Ciprofloxacin 500 m
-Condoms ???? um....ok, besides the obvious, which I don't do and have no plans to do in Africa, I know that they can be used to keep water out of your M-16. BUt since I won't have a M-16....????
-Dental floss (waxed and unwaxed)
-Diphenhydramine HCL 25 mg ( Benadryl)
-Erythromycin 25 mg
-Hydrocrotisone cream
-Ibuprofen 400mg
-Insect repellent
-Latex gloves (one pair) will replace with non-latex gloves
-Lip balm (aloe vera)
-Oral rehydration salts
-Pepto-Bismol chewable tablets
-Pseudoephedrine HCL 60 mg (Sudafed)
-Soap (dial)
-Sterile gauze pads
-Sucrets loznges
-Sunscreen (SPF 30) wow. I haven't seen SPF 30 in years...that will be replaced with my SPF 50. Or maybe my SPF 75. I don't think you can find 30 in Tucson...maybe I will send it home as a curiousity for people to see...
-Tetahydrozaline eyedrops (Visine)

Packing Lists
Genreal Clothing
-Lightweight, waterproof jacket
-Sweatshirt or sweater
-One or two bathing suits
-Bandanas or handkercheifs
-Hat I have one wide brimed from COlumbia, and I like that brand, so will probobly get a second one too
-Jeans are jeans really a good idea? I was wondering about the humidity and chaffing...
-Lightweight cotton pants
-Lightweight long shorts except on my kayak, and not even all the time then, I don't wear you think they they are really a good idea? Or capri pants would be better?
-At least one dressy outfit for official PEace Corps functions and outings in the capital

For Women
-Several good bras, including sports bras
-plenty of sturdy cotton underwear
-a variety of casual and dressier dresses
-capri pants

-Durable shoes for work I went to Summit Hut today and got fitted, found a boot that is mesh and leather, so it will dry easier, by Merrell
-Sturdy Sandals also found a pair of Chaco's that I liked. I heard that they give a discount to PCV's, so will check out their website
-All purpose shoes for walking, hiking and biking

Personal Hygine and Toiletry Items
-3 month supply of perscriptions
-good sissors
-skin lotion
-two pairs of eyeglasses
-lip balm (if you have a favorite brand)
-a small supply of femine products
-favorite brands of shampoo, shaving cream, toothpaste, deoderant I don't have a favorite brand, so will take enough to get me by until I find out where to buy whatevery they have
-Makeup I don't wear makeup, so won't even worry about this

-Packaged mixes, eg. sauces, salad dressings, soups, soft drinks I am not sure what to take...I don't drink soda...probobly a lot of garlic which I put in everything, and maybe some other spices that I am used to but probolby won't find, like chili powdwer. ANy other ideas...
-good can opener
-measuring cups and spoons
-rubber spatula
-plastic freezer bags
-small plastic food containers

-Shortwave radio
-inexpensive, durable, water-resistant watch with extera batteries
-swis army knife or leatherman will drop by the base probolby
-reliable alarm clock and extera batteries
-biking gear such as padded shorts, gloves, toe clips, water bottle and cage
-small or medium size daypack without frams
-camera (35 mm are best for travel) I know they say 35, but I like my digital
-film and extera bateries batteries, yes. And 2 extera memory cards I think
-pictures of your home, family, and friends
-magazines and catalogs with pictures of clothes you might want to have copied...clothes have never been a big thing for me, so prooblby not
-world maps and travel guides
-a supply of good pens
-journals or diaries
-Tape, CD or MP3 player and music and speakersI am thinking both. A CD player with copies of my cd's and an MP3 player. Either way, will need to get them
-plastic sturdy water bottles
-art supplies yes, this will be yarn. And needles. And maybe one or two pattern books and copies of others
-softball glove (Peace Corps/Senegal has an annual tournament with other WEst African countries)
-Combination padlocks
-Duct tape
-good flashlight or headlamp
-phone card for international calls


At 7:11 PM MST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stuff I would add:
Peroxide, candles, Avon skin so soft (the best mosquito repellent I have ever used!)
Tylenol PM if you ever have problems sleeping
Good Luck to you!

At 2:15 AM MST, Blogger Rain said...

The list seems pretty comprehensive. The only thing I would think about would be syringes in different sizes, I usually take them with me to countries that I'm dubious have stringent medical practices.

You mentioned about jeans, my friend lived in Uganda for a year and while it was scorchio during the day she said it was freaking cold at night.

At 6:09 PM MST, Blogger rj said...

Lightweight long shorts except on my kayak, and not even all the time then, I don't wear shorts. do you think they they are really a good idea? Or capri pants would be better-------------------------
To be honest it depends on terrain & how conservative the area you are going is. personally i wouldnt do shorts except at home. you arent used to whatever indiginous plantlife etc that pants would protect you from. the same for skirts- longer is usually a better choice and can even go over capris while still being conservative. while we were overseas i found this the least problematic for clothing.

And maybe one or two pattern books and copies -------------------
personally i wouldnt take any of your books. photo copy a number of patterns & put them into a 3ring binder. since its for personall use & to protect the originals there wont be copyright issues. you wont lose your originals & you can take more patterns in one book. less to pack. use the space for thread. also you might not be able to get strong sewing thread. bring a goodly supply. it can be used for a lot of things.
jeans are great for strong clothes but not for cold weather -just a thought.

At 9:26 PM MST, Blogger Mike Sheppard said...

You'll be suprised what is available in country. 90% of items you listed is available in the capital region. I'm waiting for the day someone shows up with nothing but money. That would make a Peace Corps story! One guy in our group came close: one carry on and one small suitcase. I overpacked and at the airport had to move some of my stuff to other people's suitcases who underpacked. I'll comment on what you italized though: 1. Band-Aids good idea for latex allergies. They are available for free at the Med Unit, but if you need very specific ones you should bring your own. 2. Condoms are available for free in the Med Office as well. (1/3 of the volunteers are Health Volunteers and usually give HIV/AIDS awareness speeches around the country; including condom demonstrations and how to practice safe sex - usually passing out free condoms to the locals to help limit the spread of STDs.) 3. Non-Latex gloves, good. 4. The vast majority of volunteers don't use sunscreen. I never did. Besides, one of the side effects of the anti-malaria drugs is something like desensitivity to UV. I never got sunburnt and I was on Mephloquin. 5. I wore Jeans everyday after the six-month mark. Most girls switch to local dresses and wrap-skirts. The guys are about half-half of keeping with western clothes. I wore shorts for six-months in the capital region and was always confused for a tourist. Once I switched to jeans I was more accepted. Volunteers upcountry usually wear locally made pants made by hand from the local tailors. Real cheap to get custom fitting clothing. 6. Shorts are good for lounging around your house or hut. Some volunteers always wore shorts; it's up to the individual. For females there's a social taboo of showing your knees; so it is generally recommended for both sexes to have shorts that go over the knees. I was asked to change into jeans one time during training since my knees were showing and a local elder was coming. 7. Shoes for work and Sandals. 90% of the volunteers switch to either Chaco sandals (discount for PCVs), Tevos, or locally made sandals you can buy for a buck. The only times I wore proper shoes was when teaching or going to the ambassador's house for other group's swearing in. 8. The toileraties are all available in the capital area. After two years you begin to use locally made soap for everything: to do laundry, to bathe, to shave, and for shampoo. All from one bar. 9. Kitchen items. The last I know of, they provided you with a trunk full of goodies to make it through training: cereal, dish, spoon, crackers, etc. Everything mentioned in the kitchen section is available in country. 10. leatherman is good item to bring. 11. Digital Camera. Make sure you protect it from both the heat and the sand. It is possible, some volunteers even bring their own laptop. 12. Music. What you bring is all you will have for the two years, unless friends back home send you more. 13. Art supplies. Definitely, bring thing you'll enjoy doing. You will have LOTS of free time. One of my friends read over 150 novels in the two years. He had a successful service teaching upcountry but still had lots of free time for himself. There will be a lot of time for yourself, so bring some hobbies or things that interest you.

At 7:23 AM MST, Anonymous Erika said...

Number One: Hi Mike!! It's Erika, that heath volunteer who swore in right before you left.
Number Two: Hi Cerridwen!! It's erikaalicia from LJ. I don't have very many shorts and I don't miss them. After awhile your body acclimatizes and you don't feel hot. It's the hot/rainy season right now and I just spent 5 days in the hottest regions of the country wearing blue jeans and crammed into a car. I suggest bringing like echinacia or vitamin c or melatonin or any other herbal supplements you might like to have. All other medical supplies you can get from the med unit.

Clothing: I wear a lot of local skirts. And a lot of pants. I don't really wear any shorts but the pair I do wear in my family compound are more like capri length. I'm actually at the point where shorts make me uncomfortable to see. You'll be surprised what you get used. Particularly upcountry. You get more chaffing with skirts than pants. When they say several good bras they mean it. The ones here are lacy and crappy. Bring plenty of tampons or whatever you use because they are insane expensive and the med unit has more or less quit giving them out.

Toiletries: There is no stick deoderant here at all, it's all the roll on kind and it's expensive. There's no decent conditioner here so bring some and elicit promises of care packages. Shampoo is easy to get as is toothpaste but they are usually not the nicest brands.

Kitchen: Ziplocs are amazing. They work for everything. You can buy fresh garlic here. Ranch dressing zips everything up. I really love all my packaged drinks that I get in care packages. Crystal light(and generic brands) and koolaid are awesome.

Miscellaneous: Bring duct tape. You can't get it here. The batteries are shit here. I suggest you photocopy and laminate your photos of people back home. I used clear shelf paper and it did the trick. There's a lot of books here but the reason is people bring them from home and share. Flashlights are very nice to have. A lot of people have headlamps and swear by them but I'm ok w/candles and normal flashlight but I prefer the one I have from home. It's brighter. The towels are bad here but I don't use one anymore I use a worn wrap skirt. It's two meters of soft goodness. See you soon!


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