My packing experience before leaving for Mozambique was a week long ordeal, which rotated between me blasting music and me crying of fear and frustration. Packing for Moz is hard, we know we’ll be sent to some place somewhere in a country that’s double the lenght of California. You might end up in a beach site or a city site or a cold mountain site, so make sure to bring things that could work for all three.
The Peace Corps Packing List for Moz is pretty well explained but I’m going to make a list of things I brought that one year later, I still find use for. (Keep in mind that I’m at a conservative site: aka knees and shoulders need to be covered at all times)
The Clothes (prioritize cotton and linen! They’re breathable and pretty easy to clean). Most of my wardrobe now is a combination of Old Navy, Amazon (haha), and H&M. These are clothes that I feel good in but won’t feel bad leaving behind.
- Denim Jacket
- Assorted sweaters, lightweight cardigans, a Patagonia, sweatshirts. Prioritize some that cover your butt so you can wear leggings without being too shocking.
- A bunch of nice enough to wear to class t-shirts.
- A couple lightweight cotton blouses that make me look fancy/feel nice.
- A few summer dresses/skirts (it’s still your life for two years so choose some vacation appropriate ones that will show your knees and some that hide your knees. (First time I tried a knee covering skirt I cried in the changing room because I felt like a nun but now that I’m here I am so thankful for not having to wear pants every day.) Special plus for tshirt dresses that cover the shoulders.
- I also brought some lightweight jumpsuits that show my shoulders but I wear tshirts under them for teaching.
- Leggings of all shapes and sizes (you might cringe now but at one point you’ll get used to wearing legging under dresses).
- Your favorite jeans (they make a bad turn into a good day) and then some other pairs
- Lightweight pants that can be both casual or dressed up. (I ended up having extra light weight pants sent because I really underestimated how much I’d be biking, and underestimated the heat)
- A scraf
- Some cute sandles, Birkenstocks, espadrilles, Converses, Adidas sneakers (great for rainy season).
- I also brought some cute stuff I knew I could only wear on vacation (short shorts, strappy dresses etc, but you will be going on vacation and those clothes are great to make me feel like me!)
- Socks (brings lots! Ankle socks don’t exist here) underwear (also bring lots, like 40 pairs. Hand washing underwear means that they barely survive here). Bras. (Some volunteers swear by sports bras but for me, it’s bralettes. They’re light and breezy, cute and easy to wash and pack.
- Sunglasses (I’ve sat on two pairs of mine so I wouldn’t recommend bringing anything fancy)
- Any type of sun/baseball hat.
- Bring a three months supply for Namaacha but unless you want something highly specialized, you can find things here. Some exceptions that I brought from home:
- Cetaphil face wash
- Good body, hand and face lotion.
- Make-up. If that’s your thing in America, bring it here! You can always find a reason to go to the city and put on some bright red lipstick and be chiquier than ever.
- Perfume (my mom laughed at me when I packed it but I only wear it on special occasions and it’s nice to not smell like site from time to time).
- Nail polish- if not for yourself then it’s a fun time to have a manicure with your host mom.
- Lots of people bring razors and deodorant. Razors are disgustingly expensive here (so buy a Costco pack in the US) but you can find nice smelling roll on deodorant if you don’t mind that.
- Tampons (can be found in supermarkets but are kind of expensive so maybe bring some) or try using a diva cup.
- External hard drive
- Assorted USBs
- Bluetooth speakers
- Bestek converter/adaptor. PCVs (myself included) swear by this. Electricity here is weird and iffy so the bestek will stop your things from frying.
- Portable battery. Preferably one that can hold multiple charges.
- Extra phone charging cords. Both cords and clothes have the habit of dying in Mozambique.
Comfort and Making-Life-Easier Items
- Something that reminds you of home. For me it’s an old stuffed animal and lavender packets my mom made.
- Spices spices spices. My most important ones are taco seasoning, Italian seasoning, paprika, sesame oil, quality black pepper.
- Parmesan cheese (Costco-sized) and dark chocolate.
- Nice pens (failing a student is nicer in pink or orange than red)
- Quality knives and a knife sharpener (can not begin to explain how important this is.)
- Non stick frying pan. Also a lifesaver.
- A small backpack and possibly tote bag to go to the market with.
- A purse, a money belt and a fanny pack. (Yes, I wince admitting I use a fanny pack non ironically but I also have never gotten my phone or passport stolen while traveling so….)
- My Swiss Army knife
- Duct tape