This guidance is designed to describe appropriate clothing, the cultural context where you will be living and working, and the professional expectations of your workplace.
As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on checked baggage.
In general, most items you will need are available in country and locally acquired items are often the best at helping you integrate into your community. However, locally available items may not be the brands, quality, prices, or sizes you are used to. Bringing some key items from home might make your transition to service more comfortable.
This guidance has been compiled by Peace Corps staff and Volunteers and is based on their experience. Use this information as an informal guide as you make your own packing list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect packing list!
This packing guidance is designed to help you think through different categories of items and consider what you might want to bring, considering work expectations, cultural considerations, and your own personal preferences.
Most of Comoros is hot and humid but there are a few sites with a bit of elevation, and it is often rainy and a little chilly. The Union of Comoros enjoys a maritime tropical climate characterized by two main seasons. There is a hot and rainy season between December and April, which is also cyclone season, and a dry and cool(er) season from May through November. The average temperature is 90 degrees from November to April and 85 degrees from May to October. It is typically very humid, especially between November and April.
Peace Corps Comoros provides the following items:
- Welcome bags upon arrival (water, flip flops, shawl, kofia, snack, ShiKomori survival manual, etc.)
- Local SIM cards
- Water filters
- Medical kits
- Mosquito nets
- Language manuals
- Bicycles and helmet for approved sites
- PCV handbook
- Life jackets for Volunteers placed on the islands of Anjouan and Moheli
Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take:
- Radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted)
- Automobiles or motorcycles
- Flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers
- Valuables such as precious jewelry or family heirlooms
Do not bring any drug that has not been authorized by the Peace Corps for medical purposes without prior consultation with Office of Health Services Pre-Service. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Illicit drugs, including marijuana and related products such as CBD and herbal substances such as kratom, are prohibited during Peace Corps service, even if they are legal in your home of residence. If you use, possess, or distribute illicit drugs, you will be administratively separated from service.
Additional guidance for Peace Corps Comoros
Note that there is a limit to the amount of alcohol one can bring in their checked/carry-on luggage and bringing more than that amount can cause issues with customs. The current limit is 2.0 liters of alcohol per passenger.
Due to the hot and humid temperatures, clothes get dirty quite fast. Trainees should pack their clothes bearing in mind that they might have to wash their clothes at least once a week, sometimes twice during the monsoon rain which doesn’t allow for quick line-drying. When there is sunny weather, clothes take approximately 30-50 minutes to dry.
It is common practice to wear full length (and loose) dresses, skirts, pants, and sleeved tops. Teachers are expected to always wear clean clothes. Sandals or closed-toe shoes are both accepted but flip flops are not worn to work, only inside the house or in your neighborhood. For special occasions, people wear traditional or imported clothes that are available in local markets on the islands. Cotton or linen are recommended because of the warm weather.
Leisure and recreational clothing
Most common recreational activities among PCVs in Comoros include:
- Hiking: Hiking boots. Note that a lot of our mountains are rocky so open toe shoes are not recommended. Be prepared for hot and humid weather.
- Swimming: Leggings and a t-shirt for women. Shorts for men (some men also wear a t-shirt).
- Snorkeling: Snorkeling gear (not available in country).
- Jogging: Legging or shorts (knee-length) with t-shirts, or tracksuits, and running shoes.
Inexpensive sandals are easily available, however not always in larger sizes (European size 40 is usually the highest for women and 42 for men).
You should bring a three-month supply of any prescription and/or over the counter medications you use that are authorized/approved by the Peace Corps.
Note: Prior to service, Peace Corps supplies all volunteers with a medical kit containing basic, over-the-counter medications, as well as multivitamins.
The medical unit will replenish prescriptions after the initial three-month training.
If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs (of the current prescription) with you. Contact lens use will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Bring plug adapters for Comoros and a multi-plug power strip to charge your electronic devices. Unlock your smartphone if you plan to bring one before you come. Power banks and small solar chargers are useful because of the frequent power outages.
Comoros uses power plug sockets that are of type C and E. The standard voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.
Type C: Also known as the standard "Euro" plug. This socket also works with plug E and plug F.
Type E: This type is of French origin. This socket also works with plug C and with plug F if it has an additional pinhole.
A step-up step-down transformer (110/120 V to 220/240 V ) is needed when you have electrical or electronical devices that can only run under U.S. specifications. The power and size will depend on your needs.
Sports: If you enjoy playing any kind of team of sport, there would be plenty of opportunities to engage with people from your host community. Consider bringing items such as a soccer ball, basketball, or frisbee.
Music: If you play a musical instrument, there could be lots of opportunities to interact with people from your host community. It is not easy to find musical instruments or related accessories (e.g., guitar strings). Bear in mind that the high humidity can have an impact on anything made of wood.
Cooking: Some spices are available locally. However, depending on what you like to cook, it can be hard to find many specific kinds of spices.