Kenya

Packing List

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. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in-country.

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.

Clothing

You may also find the clothing you bring from home will suffer more wear and tear than usual. Fortunately; used clothing markets abound in Kenya, even in smaller towns, so it is not necessary to bring two years’ worth of clothes.

  • Several pairs of cotton trousers
  • T-shirts
  • Buttoned shirts/blouses
  • Sweatshirts/ fleece/sweater
  • Athletic shorts (for sports or home)
  • Jeans
  • One or two dressy outfits
  • Bandannas
  • Long skirts
  • Raincoat
  • Cotton socks (grey or athletic)
  • Cotton undergarments, including slips for women

Shoes

  • Durable shoes are an essential investment. Shoes will wear out more quickly in Kenya than which you are accustomed due to all the walking you will do.
  • One or two pairs of hiking/walking shoes or boots
  • One or two pairs of sneakers or running shoes
  • Two pairs of comfortable dress shoes
  • Comfortable sandals

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • A range of basic hygiene items is available in most towns and cities; however, if you have strong personal preferences, plan to bring those brands. Contact lens solutions (available locally but very expensive); the Peace Corps does not provide this
  • A three-month supply of any prescription drugs you take and copy of the prescription, including birth control pills
  • Tampons (O.B. brand is available locally, but is expensive)
  • Aloe or after-sun lotion
  • If you wear glasses, bring two pairs

Recreation/Entertainment

  • Camera and accessories (film is available locally)
  • Binoculars
  • Music player/recorder—iPod, MP3, CD, cassette (voltage converters are available locally)
  • Shortwave radio (three- to seven-band is recommended)
  • Portable musical instruments
  • Biking shorts and gloves
  • Sports equipment (e.g., Frisbee, kites, football, volleyball, soccer ball, badminton, snorkeling gear)
  • Art supplies
  • Games and puzzle books (e.g., playing cards, cribbage, Scrabble, chess)
  • Favorite novels (but there will also be plenty circulating among Volunteers)
  • Almanac and dictionary
  • Camping or hiking gear
  • Tent (useful for travel, as well as backpacking)

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
  • Cotton sheets (full or queen size)
  • A light blanket
  • Bath towels
  • Sleeping bag
  • Favorite sleeping pillow
  • Pens and pencils, stationery, and notebooks
  • Sturdy water bottle (e.g., Nalgene)
  • Solar batteries and recharger
  • Sewing kit
  • Kitchen knives
  • Plastic storage bags and containers
  • Duct tape
  • Peeler, grater, etc.
  • All-purpose knife (e.g., Leatherman)
  • Packaged sauces, seasoning, and soft-drink mixes
  • Work gloves
  • 12 passport-size photos
  • Checks from a U.S. bank account
  • Day planner
  • Sunglasses/visor