Rwanda

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.

Men

  • 2-3 pairs of nice pants (khakis/dress)
  • 1-2 pairs of jeans/comfy pants
  • 1-2 pairs of shorts (appropriate to wear when playing sports)
  • 3-4 dress shirts
  • 2-3 other shirts
  • 1-2 ties
  • 1 sweater
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 warm jacket
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuit

Women

  • 2-3 pairs of nice pants
  • 1-2 pairs of jeans
  • 1-2 pairs of athletic pants (shorts aren't appropriate; no knees)
  • 2-3 skirts (below the knee)
  • 1-2 dresses (below the knee)
  • 3-4 dress shirts
  • 2-3 other shirts
  • 1-2 cardigans
  • 1-2 scarves
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 warm jacket
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • 1-2 slips
  • Swimsuit

Shoes

Durable shoes are an essential investment. Shoes will wear out more quickly in Rwanda than you are accustomed due to all the walking you will do and the volcanic terrain in some regions of the country.

  • 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
  • Dress sandals
  • Rubber sandals/shower shoes

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, bring those brands.
  • Deodorant (if you prefer the stick kind, which is not available locally)
  • If you wear glasses, bring two pairs
  • Contact lens solution (available locally but very expensive); Peace Corps does not provide this
  • 3-6 month supply of any prescription drugs you take, including birth control pills
  • Good-quality sunscreen (with a high SPF)
  • Tampons or sanitary pads (some are available locally but are very expensive)
  • Aloe or after-sun lotion (Peace Corps does not provide this)
  • Nail clippers/nail file
  • Razors
  • Towel(s)/washcloth(s)
  • Shaving cream (hard to find here and expensive)
  • Pumice stone/foot scrubber
  • Makeup (hard to find and expensive)
  • Mouthwash (not available here)
  • Floss (PC Medical provides some, but you may want better quality)

Electronics

Some volunteers have electricity in their homes and many have at least access to a local source of electricity, but keep in mind that this is not guaranteed.

  • Rwanda-appropriate adapter (two circle prongs)
  • Rwanda-appropriate converter (recommended, but not necessary)
  • Personal laptop (recommended, but not necessary)
  • Unlocked cell phone that accepts SIM cards
  • Digital camera (recommended, but not necessary)
  • Shortwave radio/portable radio (can purchase here also)
  • IPod/music device (optional)
  • Kindle/eBook reader (optional)
  • External hard drive (optional)
  • 2-3 flash drives (optional)

 Miscellaneous

  • Pictures from home of your family, friends, pets, seasons of the year, etc.
  • Pens and pencils, stationery, and notebooks
  • Alarm clock
  • Solar calculator (essential for small enterprise development Volunteers)
  • Solar batteries and recharger
  • Sewing kit
  • Knives (available locally but of poor quality)
  • Plastic storage bags and containers
  • Duct tape
  • Peeler, grater, etc.
  • Tools such as a Leatherman knife
  • Packaged sauces, seasonings, drink mixes, and spices (spices are hard to find and expensive)
  • Potholders
  • Solar shower
  • Work gloves
  • Cash (most Volunteers bring $200–$500 for travel and vacation)
  • Credit card and/or ATM card
  • At least 10 passport-size photos of yourself for visas, work permits, etc. (Note: These photos are a must)
  • U.S. and world maps
  • U.S. stamps (you can often have letters mailed by those traveling back to the U.S.)
  • Checks from a U.S. bank account (handy for ordering things from home)
  • Day planner
  • Nalgene or aluminum water bottle
  • Sunglasses/visor
  • Bed sheets (These are not provided; you will need them for pre-service training)
  • Towel(s)
  • Collapsible bag/tote bags
  • 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