Given that I am leaving in a week, I am beginning to think about packing.  This seems to be when the reality of leaving for 9 months is really starting to sink in.

George Butler did a fantastic image of all the things he packed when he drove from London to Libreville. It gives you an idea of the magnitude of stuff that is swirling in my head that I think I need to take. Unfortunately, I don’t have a car to shove all my things into — only two suitcases and a carry on.

Photo Credit: George Butler, 2010

Despite feeling anxious about packing, I think I have all my bases covered. I have found that Chris Blattman’s what to pack for field work (and part II)  was very helpful (don’t forget to read the comments!). The New York Times has a neat slide show on packing (a carry on) effectively. And this site ensured I didn’t forget anything.

My friend Caitlin in Malawi also provided some helpful hints. She said not to bring a mosquito net because they are fairly easy to find in the capital and tend to be very cheap.  Brand name goods can be found, but are very expensive (I found that was similar in Accra where Listerine was nearly $25). She stressed bringing a ton of deodorant unless you are OK with using this. She also recommended to bring lots of clothes for every occasion, because you never know what you will be invited to.  Someone else had mentioned that sometimes it is difficult to find dental floss.

Anyway, wish me luck! I hope this helps anyone else who is packing. If anyone reads this (I think there are at least two of you. HI Mom!), please throw some other suggestions my way.

For all who are curious, I will be sure to update this on the things I wish I would have brought once I am there.