I might not love all of these items enough for them to make it onto my favorite lists (These are a few of my favorite things, These are a few of our favorite things, My favorite items during PST), but that does not make them any less important.
Below are lists of items that I use every day, when I travel or leave the house, items that are fun, and a few extra items I did not use but you might. These are items that Peace Corps did not provide to us. Those can be found here: What Peace Corps gives us.
I noted brands for a few items and if that company offers a pro deal/discount to PCVs. I recommend the bigger ticket items (electronics) be purchased in America. You can find almost anything you could want in Eswatini. It might be hard to find, or cost a lot, but you can find it. I suggest that most kitchenware be purchased here if you want more than Peace Corps provides. I could have saved money if I had done that.
- Headlamp with rechargeable batteries (Black Diamond head lamp with Energizer batteries)
- Indoor/outdoor thermometer and clock (LL Bean)
- Outdoor sandals (Teva, gives PCVs a discount)
- Indoor flip flops (Eddie Bauer)
- Bike shorts or leggings (I always wear something under my skirts)
- Plastic silverware, plates, and dishes
- Water bottle
- Weekly pill holder
- Smart phone
- Pitcher for pouring water
- Clothes pins (not just for hanging wet clothes, but also for closing food bags and displaying photos)
- Food storage containers (bring a few to get you by until you amass a collection of yogurt and peanut butter containers)
- Sleeping bag in winter
- Fleece in winter
- Slippers in winter
- Fan in summer (I bought an oscillating fan here, and brought a small, rechargeable one from Goal Zero)
- Plastic cutting boards
- Pairing knife (definitely bring a good knife from the U.S.!)
- Non-stick skillet
- Plastic spatula/turner
- Kitchenaid plastic spatula for baking
- Stoven (like a toaster oven but with burners on top stove + oven = stoven)
When I leave the house for work or travel
- Reusable shopping bag
- Big shopping bag to carry lots of purchases at one time (LL Bean)
- Clothes pouch (Eagle Creek, gives PCVs a discount)
- Tent (I had one I could bring for free, and it saves you a lot of money when going to Bushfire or Hlane; I don’t know if the PCVs who bought tents specifically for their service were happy with the purchase)
- Kindle (PC Eswatini gives us one)
- Flash drives/hard drive for media and saving work
Just because I didn’t need these every day doesn’t mean you won’t
- Solar charger/solar powered lights (Some sites in Eswatini do not have electricity)
- Dress shoes (these were my first purchase after moving to town for my extension)
Oh you carry a lot!
I have never been known for light packing, unfortunately. I filled my bags to the max weight limit.
Packing cubes are amazing and I still use them even after COS, it’s how I organize my suitcases now. I’m never going back to the way I did it before.
I love how organized I stay with them, even if I could jam a few more things in my bag if I didn’t use them.