Guinea

Guinea flag

Packing List

This section provides a comprehensive guide for aspiring Peace Corps Volunteers preparing to depart for Guinea. It acknowledges the weight limit and restrictions on baggage, urging Volunteers to prioritize essential items and consider purchasing additional items locally.

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in-country and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on baggage.

Baggage & weight limit: The Peace Corps limits the size and weight of baggage and will not pay to transport baggage that exceeds these limits. The allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers.

General packing

In Guinea, you are able to have clothes made with local fabric tailored to you. However, basic clothes like shirts and pants are often more expensive and if you are very tall or larger they may be difficult to find. They also may not be of the best quality because they are second hand. Further, having all of your clothes made does not align with your monthly allowance. It is recommended to bring solid-colored shirts or pants from home that are easy to dry and wash. Avoid white or light-colored garments that stain easily. When you would like clothes to be made in country, bringing clothing catalogs or photos from home can be helpful to show tailors what you would like done or what you are searching for.

Do not bring anything you are not willing to lose. Any clothes here will have to sustain two years of bucket washing, sweat stains, and molding. Stretchy clothes and athletic fabrics tend to survive bucket bathes better. Keep in mind that you likely won’t have access to an iron.

  • Consider bringing a light, long-sleeve shirt so you don’t get sunburned during long bike rides.
  • Some warm clothing, maybe one warm hoodie or jacket, for chilly nights.
  • Definitely bring a bathing suit! Bathing suits are difficult to come by.
  • A few pairs of socks (Volunteers typically wear open-toed shoes with no socks; runners should bring a week’s worth of good socks). Bringing a few pairs of athletic socks with synthetic “smart” fabrics is a good idea.
  • Hat or cap for sun protection
  • An unlined waterproof jacket (rainy season is no joke)

If items start getting expensive, stick to the essentials. Once you’re here you can call home to friends and family and ask them to send care packages. However, it can be expensive to send packages and will take several months for packages to arrive.

For Men

  • Clothing that covers more of the body is recommended.
  • Breathable underwear (multiple pairs)
  • One nice outfit (business casual—trousers and a button down shirt, tie optional—for conferences and meetings)
  • A few pairs of trousers. Jeans are optional.
  • Two to three T-shirts (easy to buy locally if you need more during your service)
  • Two or three short-sleeved, button-down or polo-type collared shirts (especially important for teachers)
  • One to two pairs of shorts
  • A few pairs of workout shorts/ tank tops (common for agriculture volunteers to wear when working in the fields and good for other volunteers to lounge/workout in)

For Women

  • Sleeved shirts (no spaghetti straps) and shorts/skirts that go below the knees (for cultural sensitivity)
  • Basic jewelry (if you normally wear it; nothing expensive). Women get dressed up, so this is definitely acceptable. Be aware that jewelry may tarnish.
  • One to two week supply of underwear
  • Three to five bras, including a few sports bras
  • Two or three casual dresses or skirts that cover your knees, even when sitting (cotton is best; sleeveless is OK, but spaghetti straps are not acceptable)
  • One pair of jeans (optional) and several pairs of lightweight loose pants
  • Two to three cotton T-shirts that can withstand sweat and dirt
  • Two or three short-sleeved, button-down or polo-type collared shirts (especially important for teachers) long enough to cover your backside
  • One or two short-sleeved, button-down shirts (mainly for teachers, optional for other volunteers) that are appropriate length
  • A pair of shorts that cover your knees if you plan to participate in sports
  • Scarf to cover your head during religious ceremonies
  • Education and Health Volunteers: common to wear basic short sleeve shirts with a longer skirt
  • Agriculture Volunteers: long and loose athletic type pants (ex: hiking pants) with basic short sleeve top that is appropriate length and comfortable
  • Optional: workout clothes to wear in your house

Shoes

Among Volunteers, opinions vary in regards to the best footwear to bring. Here is the most basic selection you’ll want to pack:

  • A quality pair of flip-flops from the States will outlast ten pairs of the ones found in Guinea. Very useful as shower shoes as well!
  • A pair of all-purpose athletic shoes
  • Durable and waterproof athletic sandals with straps (if they are not durable or waterproof, sandals will get moldy and gross). Most Volunteers find that popular brands of leather and cork soled sandals do not survive!
  • Dress shoes (optional)
  • Agriculture Volunteers: hiking boots (preferably waterproof)

Personal hygiene and toiletry items

If specific toiletries/skincare items are important to you, bring what you can from home and bring plenty of it! It is very hard and expensive to get imported toiletries in country. Basic (aka bar soaps, toothbrush/toothpaste, shea butter, etc) toiletries are available in local markets. What you are able to find also depends on local markets around you.

  • Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions
  • If you wear glasses, bring two pairs (contacts are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash with fluoride
  • Moisturizers, lotion
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and soap
  • Spray bottle if you use it
  • Hair ties, headbands, claw clips, small elastics, other hair accessory items
  • Specific hair products (ex: oils, gels, mousses, powder dry shampoo), especially if you have curly hair
  • Any non-prescription face items (ex: toners, general face wash, cotton rounds)
  • Comb or brush
  • Razor blades (if you use a traditional safety razor, you will most likely be able to find blades in country)
  • Optional: makeup items (difficult and expensive to come by in country)
  • Travel toothbrush
  • Nail clippers
  • Microfiber, quick-dry camp towel (bring more than one)
  • Small quick-dry face cloths
  • Mirror
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Small bottles of gel hand sanitizer
  • Baby wipes
  • Face sunscreen
  • Optional: battery powered/rechargeable electric razor
  • Optional: materials for cutting hair

Electronics

  • Audio player
  • Mini-speakers (can be found in country)
  • Camera with additional memory and batteries
  • Good-quality headlamp with extra batteries
  • Rechargeable AAA batteries
  • USB flash drives
  • Watch (waterproof)
  • USB adapter if needed for your laptop
  • Reliable solar panel charger (bring more than one if you can)
  • Power bank/portable battery
  • Reliable phone case
  • Corded headphones and Bluetooth headphones
  • Rechargeable/solar lights/camp lights
  • Rechargeable small fans
  • Power/ outlet converter
  • Optional: laptop - Volunteers are given tablets during their service, but if you prefer using a laptop you should bring your own
  • Optional: small gaming console

Kitchen

  • Rubber spatula
  • Good-quality can opener (local ones can be frustrating)
  • One or two good-quality kitchen knives (paring knife, chef knife, serrated knife)
  • Swiss Army-type knife or multitool (remember to pack in checked luggage)
  • Small cutting board
  • Two sturdy water bottles. If you prefer water bottles with straws, bring metal straws and a straw cleaner
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Specific herbs and spices if cooking is important to you
  • Plastic food-storage containers
  • Measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon
  • Zip-top plastic bags (some large, some small). Important for keeping smaller critters away
  • Optional: small pot and pan
  • Most larger cooking items are available in regional capitals (ex: cooking pans, bowls, plates, etc)

Bikes

You will be issued a mountain bike, and for most Volunteers it is their primary source of transportation, so bring any bike gear you use and love, Peace Corps Guinea will provide a basic multi-tool and lock.

Miscellaneous

If you plan to travel to other countries for vacation, you may want to bring extra money to suit your travel plans; credit cards or traveler's checks are preferable to cash. There are ATMs in larger cities, and most towns so you may want to bring an ATM card to access a bank account in the U.S. Small gifts for host family and friends (not required); knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; photos to give away.

  • Peel-and-seal letters, small padded package envelopes, and U.S. stamps (travelers to the U.S. are frequently willing to hand-carry small envelopes)
  • Reliable/good quality pens and pencils
  • Frisbee, volleyball, football, etc.
  • Yoga mat (non slip)
  • Playing cards
  • Art supplies
  • Coloring pages with coloring utensils
  • A good book or two, or a Kindle/Nook
  • Musical instrument (if you play one). Guitars can be found in Conakry, but can be pricey. Other instruments and quality strings will be much harder to come by.
  • IMPORTANT: Duct Tape
  • Tent (if you plan on traveling/camping)
  • Sleeping bag, hammock, or travel mosquito net
  • Good-quality sunglasses (multiple pairs)
  • Sewing kit and scissors
  • Face covering/face gaiter for when you are traveling
  • Earplugs
  • Pillow!!!!!
  • Small, lightweight, travel size blanket
  • Stuffed animals if you need them!
  • French grammar books and 501 French Verbs
  • Large duffel bag (with wheels if possible)
  • IMPORTANT: Camping/hiking backpack (Backpacks are best for traveling. Find one that can fit enough stuff for trips lasting longer than 4-5 days - probably 50-60L)
  • Schoolbag/day pack or good-size purse
  • Tote bag
  • Luggage locks/combination locks
  • Any snacks you will miss during your service!!!

Overall, you will have down time during your service and it is important to bring things to do during your free time. There are things available in larger cities but they can be expensive. If possible, have extra money in your U.S. bank accounts you can use an app to transfer to yourself when you want to buy more expensive items.