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2 years, 3 months
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Up to 12 months
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Living Conditions in Mozambique



There is enormous variation in the time it takes for mail and packages to arrive at Volunteers’ sites, ranging from two to three weeks in the south to even longer in the north. In any case, advise your family and friends to number their letters for tracking purposes and to write “Airmail” and “Par Avion” on their envelopes. Sending packages to Mozambique can incur high customs fees that are the responsibility of the Volunteer to pay. Due the costs that you may incur, we strongly suggest your friends and family do NOT send you packages via FedEx, UPS, or DHL. We recommend shipping mail via USPS. Your address during pre-service training will be as follows:

Your Name, PCT
Peace Corps
C.P. 4398
Maputo, Mozambique


Long-distance communication via telephone is generally available but is expensive. Cellphone service is available in most of the country. Some U.S. smartphones work in Mozambique, but they must be ‘unlocked’ first before bringing them here. You cannot get the phone unlocked from Mozambique, so please check with the phone’s manufacturer to ensure its compatibility with the network in Mozambique. Volunteers often purchase a basic cellphone for $50-$100 and use the phones to receive phone calls and send text messages. Peace Corps Mozambique does not issue cellphones to Volunteers, however we do provide a local SIM card upon arrival in country. Many volunteers use low-cost services such as WhatsApp, Skype or Google Voice to contact family and friends, as it is generally a better connection than cellular service.


Most Volunteers do not have access to public computers at their sites, so Volunteers are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet. There are several Internet service providers in Mozambique and most providers are accessible from almost anywhere in country via smart phone Wi-Fi hotspot or portable modem.

Housing and site location

During the thirteen weeks of pre-service training, all trainees live with a host family. After Swearing-In, most Volunteers live in urban or semi-urban environments, while a few may live in more rural settings. These areas generally have populations that average 10,000-20,000 people. Living conditions vary by site, and Volunteers should prepare to be flexible. The provincial and district capitals all have electricity, with varying levels of coverage (the current is 220 V). Your private house will be located within a reasonable distance to a general market and stores where you can buy basic necessities, such as batteries, light bulbs, pots and pans, soap, toilet paper, as well as food items like bread, rice, spaghetti, and beans. Volunteers may live in a cement house with a tin roof or a reed house with cement walls and floors and tin roof. The toilet, bath, and cooking facilities may be indoors or outdoors. Only a few Volunteers have running water. Note that American concepts of privacy and personal space are not necessarily shared by Mozambicans, and adapting to a more communal lifestyle and lack of privacy will require considerable flexibility on your part.

Food and diet

The climate in Mozambique allows for the production of many seasonal fruits and vegetables, but your site location will determine which fruits and vegetables are available to you and when. At some times of the year, you may find only onions, tomatoes, and bananas in your local market. Packaged and canned goods—imported from South Africa, Eswatini, Malawi, or Zimbabwe—are more expensive than local products. Canned and boxed products, whether Mozambican or imported, can be found in provincial capitals and some district capitals. Dried fish is available at most sites, and fresh fish is available along the coast. While it is possible to be a healthy vegetarian in Mozambique, your diet will lack the variety you may be used to. Rice, beans, bread, eggs, and pasta will be your main foods at home, and you will usually be able to get eggs, some vegetables, beans, rice, bread, and fried potatoes at restaurants.

Living allowance and money management

Volunteers receive a monthly allowance in local currency that is sufficient to live at the level of the local people. The allowance covers food, housing, household supplies, clothing, transportation to and from work, utilities, recreation and entertainment, and incidental expenses. Peace Corps Volunteers are expected to live at a level that is comparable with that of their host country counterparts. The Peace Corps discourages Volunteers from supplementing their living allowance with funds from home. However, Volunteers often wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. For this, credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.


Crowded buses and taxis provide most of the transportation in urban settings. Rural transportation ranges from minibuses and pickup trucks to bicycle taxis, boat taxis, or simply lots of walking. Large buses run between most of the provincial capitals. Although Mozambique has invested heavily in restoring its main roads and bridges, travel conditions are still poor, especially off the main paved roads and during the rainy season. Public transportation is not always on schedule or reliable—it can take two hours of riding, waiting, and changing buses to get to a town that is only 25 miles away. You may have to walk a few miles from your home to get to your work site or to get to town to shop for supplies, go to the post office, and so on. Peace Corps Volunteers are also given the option of purchasing a bicycle; Volunteers must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. A helmet will be provided by the Peace Corps/Mozambique medical office.

Social activities

Recreation varies among sites and the preferences of individual Volunteers. You might enjoy visiting the friends and families of your students, colleagues, or community neighbors and improving your conversational skills in Portuguese or a local language in a neighborhood hangout. You may enjoy watching soap operas, making or listening to music, traveling to the beach, shopping at markets, attending traditional cultural events, growing a home garden, cooking, reading, or writing letters. Many Volunteers find that reading for pleasure becomes very important, so be sure to bring your favorite books (paper or electronic) to enjoy and share with other Volunteers. Also, bring pictures of your family, friends, and hometown to show to fellow Volunteers and Mozambican friends. Consider bringing portable musical instruments, sports equipment, or games you like to play. Soccer, basketball, and volleyball are popular sports among students and community members. If you are an avid runner, for safety reasons, you may not be able to enjoy the freedom of running whenever and wherever you want, but you will be able to find ways to get the exercise you need.

Professionalism, dress, and behavior

Professionalism in the Peace Corps requires an awareness of the host community workplace culture, community values, and your self-presentation. To maintain a positive, culturally appropriate professional standing within a host community or workplace, Volunteers may need to adjust their style of dress, hair style, facial hair, make-up, piercings, manner of greeting others, etc. to demonstrate respect for local culture and customs. How you present yourself, in both informal and professional settings, is a reflection of you as an individual and of you as a representative of Peace Corps and the United States. In the U.S., dress (and other elements of personal appearance) may be seen as an expression of personal freedom and identity. In many host countries where Peace Corps Volunteers serve, the way you dress and present yourself may be interpreted as an expression of regard – or disregard – for those host community members around you.

Volunteers are encouraged to spend time in their communities, to develop their language skills, and to get to know the individual members of their community to better understand their traditions, culture, and local norms. As mutual trust is established over time, there may opportunities for Volunteers to adjust their personal appearance and dress outside of the more rigid local standards. Volunteers are encouraged to discuss these potential adjustments with staff and other cultural mentors.

High standards of cleanliness and hygiene are important in Mozambique. You are expected to shower or bathe regularly and to wear neat and professional clothing that is appropriate for a hot, humid climate. This includes Business casual attire, such as neat pants or long skirts and button-down shirts or polos. Occasionally, professional looking jeans and t-shirts are also okay depending on the nature of the work and your activities. Shorts, flipflops, and tank tops are not considered appropriate dress in an office environment. Visible body piercings (other than earrings for women) and tattoos are not common among Mozambicans. While Mozambicans are tolerant, this may draw unwanted attention and gossip that often makes Volunteers feel uncomfortable. Long hair, long locks, and beards on men are uncommon and but acceptable if groomed or tied up neatly in a bun for formal meetings.