Tuesday, August 3, 2010

6 days and counting...

Less than 6 days to get ready now... still feels unreal. Today was my original departure date... thank goodness it got moved back! While I've been working on my preparations for departure, I've also been trying to enjoy all those aspects of American life I'll really miss. In the past week or so, I've been horseback riding, went to the John Mayer and Train concert, I've been eating lots of Ohio sweet corn, getting my fill of sushi, seeing friends and family, went to Kings Island for the first time in years (despite the fact that I can see it from my house), hanging out with my dog, going to the movie theater, eating pizza, went to the Dayton Celtic Festival, perused Borders and Barnes & Noble.... basically a really good time!

Now to the serious business. Everyone's been asking me what I'm packing, so here's a basic run-down (it looks very long, and it is, but a lot of these things are small so I'm hoping I'll fit in the 80-pound limit for checked baggage, plus whatever I can fit in my carry-on).

Packing List for Uganda:


  • Several basic below-the-knee skirts
  • 1-2 pairs of gauchos or capris for bike riding and fieldwork
  • Several short-sleeved (not sleeveless) tops
  • 1 below-the-knee dress for special occasions
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1-2 pairs of longer shorts for sports or running/jogging
  • Several cotton t-shirts
  • 1 long-sleeved shirt
  • Cardigans
  • Tank tops and camisoles
  • 1 pair sweatpants
  • 1 pair black leggings for under skirts
  • Good supply of underwear (handwashing is hard on clothes and apparently the quality available in Uganda leaves a lot to be desired)
  • Good supply of durable bras
    • 4 regular bras
    • 1 sports bra
    • 1 strapless bra
  • Socks
    • Gym socks
    • Hiking socks
  • 1 half slip
  • Rain jacket (REI Women's Ultra Light Jacket)
  • Pajamas
  • Sweatshirt
  • North Face Fleece
  • 2 pairs of hiking pants (can be used for field work)
  • Swimsuit
  • Nice clothing for going out to a bar or dancing in Kampala
  • Gloves for field work (Carhartt Women's Chore Gloves)
  • Scarf/shawl


  • Leather sandals (Merrell Siena)
  • Dress shoes (black ballet flats)
  • Teva sandals
  • Flip-flops
  • Hiking boots (Scarpa Kailash GTX)
  • Gym shoes
  • 1 pair of closed-toe flats (Naturalizer NaturalSport Scatter)


  • Toothbrush
  • Hair ties, bobby pins
  • Hairbrush
  • Travel hair dryer
  • Straightener
  • Razor and extra blades
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Nail clippers
  • Mirror
  • Chapstick with sunscreen
  • Facial sunscreen
  • Sunscreen – 30 spf
  • Makeup
  • Face wash
  • Nail polish and remover
  • Foot scrub/pumice stone
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bath towel
  • Hand towel
  • Glasses
  • Contacts
  • Contact solution
  • Qtips
  • Feminine products


  • Travel alarm clock
  • Watch
  • Shortwave radio (Grundig G4000A)
  • iPod and charger
  • Small battery-powered speaker (Altec Lansing iM-237 Orbit - highly recommended!)
  • Camera equipment
    • Camera Bodies (Canon T2i and XTi)
    • Lenses
    • Lens cloth
    • Lumix point-and-shoot camera
    • Filters
  • Extra camera batteries and SD cards
  • Travel drive for photos
  • External hard drive
  • USB card reader
  • DVDs
  • Laptop and charger
  • Outlet adapters
  • Power strip – charge multiple items at a time if I have to charge away from home
  • USB flash drive

Camping/outdoor equipment

  • Sleeping bag
  • Small packable pillow
  • Solar-powered headlamp
  • Solar-powered flashlight
  • Water bottles
  • Trekking poles
  • Sleeping pad (if room in bag)
  • Tent (if room in bag)

Office Supplies/Books/etc.

  • Twelve passport-size photos
  • Reference books
    • Introduction to Animal Husbandry in the Tropics (thank you to Wiley-Blackwell Publishing for the discount!)
    • Where There Is No Animal Doctor
    • Where There Is No Doctor
  • Novels/fun books
  • Duct tape
  • Journal
  • Calendar/planner
  • Post-it notes
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape
  • Peal and seal letter, small-padded package envelopes
  • Sharpies
  • Pens
  • Folders
  • Small stapler and staples
  • Solar powered calculator
  • Addresses of friends and family
  • Detailed map of Uganda
  • World map to hang on my wall and show my neighbors where I'm from (or plan trips!)
  • Travel books
    • Uganda
    • East Africa


  • Gum
  • Spices
    • Lawry’s
    • Mrs. Dash
  • Crystal Light packets
  • Can opener
  • Ziploc bags
  • Plastic spatula
  • Tupperware
  • Recipes
  • Pot holders

Personal stuff

  • Driver’s license
  • ATM card
  • Credit card
  • All Peace Corps paperwork, handbooks, packets, etc.
  • Yellow WHO vaccination record
  • Bank contact info
  • Copies of all of the above (leave one at home, bring one copy)


  • Photos from home – family, friends, etc.
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Leatherman
  • Sheets – 2 full-size flat ones are the most flexible as bed size can vary widely
  • Shower scrunchie
  • Umbrella
  • Sunglasses
  • Money belt
  • Luggage locks
  • Non-valuable jewelry
  • Laundry bag
  • Tissues (3 travel packs)
  • Bug spray
  • Playing cards
  • Gifts for host family
    • Postcards from Cincinnati
    • Coloring books and crayons for the kids
    • Will probably buy something in-country once I realize what my family would like/need


  • Kelty backpack (Coyote 4570)
  • Big duffle bag
  • Daypack as carry-on
  • Small purse? Still deciding on this

Whew! It seems like a lot (it's all spread on my floor right now) but with some careful packing it will hopefully all make the cut!


S. said...

hey! I wouldn't bring sunscreen/bug spray as PC medical will give you those right off the bat. Also you can print off a copy of "Where there is no Doctor" at the PC office in Kampala. Also, you can get most office supplies in Kampala and the bigger cities, so you don't really need to bring Post-it notes, scissors, Scotch tape, Peal and seal letters, Sharpies, pens, folders, and a small stapler and staples! If you burn I'd suggest throwing in some Aloe Vera gel as it's not available here in Uganda. And if you don't have room for something, just send yourself a box before you leave and you'll get it sometime during training!

Britt Larson said...

Thanks Sara! Good things to know. Looking forward to meeting you in person! :)