3 – Pairs of shoes – Bring shoes that can take a beating and keep going – my dress shoes are now molded and will never be worn again – my Keen’s how ever are still going strong and are easy to clean! Keen also has a Peace Corps discount – make sure to email them for it.
1 dressy Aero Sole Ballet Flat
1 Keen Newport H2 Green
1 Keen Black Leather Utility PTC Slip-On II
10 – Pairs of Underwear
5- Bras – an expensive purchase! OMG $60 a bra – You do the math!
5- Twill Pants – They can be dressy or casual but I now know they are a pain in the @## to wash by hand and take 2 days to dry.
3- Sock Liners – double as thin dress socks and dry quickly – so great to layer with the wool socks and then wash the liner instead of the sock and keep your feet even warmer on winter days.
5- Super thick wool socks
5 – regular socks
2 – Abayas – 1 plain black silk and 1 cotton – I packed these because I didn’t know how conservative Morocco would be but I find I use the cotton one when I took a shower at my host family’s house and didn’t want to bring my dry clothes into the bucket bath area in which EVERYTHING gets wet – this way I could slip this on then go to my room and put on dry clean clothing.
5-6 Long sleeved cotton shirts – These are great and I wish I could buy more but they are hard to find outside of the “winter fashion season.”
3- Tunics – These I had custom made by a lady who lives in Orinda – they cover my butt down to my knees and I simply slip one over my long sleeve shirts and I have a nice conservative outfit! * I will email my mom as I also know she sells her clothing on eBay*
1- Skirt – yes I packed one (made of jersey) even though I hate them with a passion! Its turned out to be one of the better things I packed – that said once here I heard about Macabi skirts and requested my mom purchase two for me since they are so awesome!! They also have a Peace Corps discount – email them for it.
15- Hijabs / Scarves – yes they are fashionable but I wear them for religious reasons and that said I had to make sure I had enough that I wouldn’t get bored.. not that I couldn’t go on a hijab shopping spree in Morocco. I ended up sticking with for the majority cotton ones although I packed two silk dress ones so that I could “dress up.”
Cold Weather Preparedness –
You might not think that Morocco is a cold country. 40 F might not seem cold in America with central heat and A/C at your disposal but it is cold when you’re alone in your house – trying to go to sleep or type a blog post- pack for the COLD.
1- set of Thermal Underwear
1- Fleece Hat
1- Pair of Mittens
1- Columbia Interchange Jacket – it has a waterproof shell and a warm fleece layer that zips in – I have had mine for about 10 years – so if you need to purchase a jacket – know these things last!
1- Sleeping Bag – North face Allegheny its rated to 40F and is a super light bag at only 2lbs 8oz
1 – Sleeping bag liner – Cool Max – its soft, adds 8 degrees of warmth and is great for hub and hotels – where you don’t want to touch the sheets or blankets!
2 – Water bottles – 1 Nalgene and 1 Vapur
1- Travel towel XL – the towels here suck – not in a good way and are expensive – this thing dries quick and can handle any amount of water your shower can throw at it – did I mention its super light weight?
5- Disposable Razors
1- Kiss My Face Shaving Cream
2- Sticks of Degree deodorant
1 – Shower sandals – I packed a pair of flip flops – you can use them as your “bathroom shoes,” when your not taking a shower.
1- set of travel shampoo, soap etc (enough to last you 3-4 months)
1- Diva Cup and Pads – I packed enough pads for 6 months – till my mom could ship me more – trust me when I say – America makes better personal hygiene products than Morocco makes or imports! *Make sure to start practicing with the Diva Cup – it takes about 2-3 months to get use to using it.
House/ Apartment Stuff- (for final site)
1 – Set of sheets for a full sized bed
1- Primaloft Comforter – Full Size
1- Set of Kitchen Knives – Komachi
1- Pair of Kitchen Scissors
1- Veggie Peeler/Scrubber Combo – by Rachel Ray
5- Reusable Veggie Shopping Bags by Flip and Tumble
1- Fly Swatter
3- Pot Holders – 1 IKEA Silcone Holder and 2 – Cloth Ones
5- 3M Command Plastic Hooks
1- Pack of Sticky Tac
1- Variety Set of Ziplock Containers
1- Spork by Light My Fire – great for eating a cup of yogurt from the hanut on the run!
Fun and Excerise-
1 – Deck of Uno
1- Deck of Cards
1- Deck of Yoga Cards
1- Pilates DVD with Stretch Band
2- Sets of Knitting Needles
I packed a selection of medicine aware that I may not be able to find similar items in Morocco. During CBT everyone got slammed with a cold and many people had many stomach troubles – so as my mom says best be safe rather than sorry. PCMO will issue you a Medical Kit but some items aren’t that great – such as the throat lozenges and cold medicine – so I was very happy to have my small stash of medicine.
Pepto Tablets, Gasex, IB Profhen, Chlorseptic Throat Lozenges, Comtrex Cold, Zyrtec etc
1 – Laptop (with restoration disks, cords and a NY Built Neoprene Case)
1- iPod Touch (with cords and protective case)
1- External Hard drive -500 GB to swap movies and music with other volunteers
1- Kindle with Timbuk 2 Envelope case and geomatic charger
1- Reading light for the kindle
2- Plug converters for my electronics – this doesn’t convert the voltage to US voltage just makes the plug able to use the wall sockets that run on 220 Volts
1- Voltage Converter from Radio Shack – it steps down the voltage from 220V to 110V
1 – Eton Microlink – hand powered flashlight, radio, cell phone charger that can also be used to charge your iPod using the USB cable should the power go out – which the power will go out – as it did in my site during a severe rainstorm.
1-8 – Pack AA Rechargeable Batteries
1- 4 – Pack AAA Rechargeable Batteries
1- Recharger for the Batteries
5 – G2 Pens with extra refills
1- Mechanical Pencil with Lead Refills
1 – Moleskin Notebook
2- Packs of Chalk – White and Colored (I haven’t needed them the Dar Chabab has white boards!)
1- Chalk holder
2- Pack of Index Cards – you’re going to need them for learning Darija
1- Arabic/English Picture Dictionary
1- US Map
1- Map of Morocco
25- 30 Post Cards of different states to use with the US Map to talk about the geography of the USA – I wasn’t able to get them all since they were donated 😀
1- Lonely Planet Moroccan Arabic Phrasebook
Eagle Creek 25 Switchback – a wheeled bag with an attached backpack
Eagle Creek ORV 2 – It splits into two bags that zip together to form a roller
*Eagle Creek will also give you a pro shop discount if you apply and email them your invitation from the Peace Corps!
Patches Lucky Brand Purse
My total weight of luggage was 101 lbs. Be aware Peace Corps doesn’t pay you back if your luggage is over the weight limits for Royal Air Morocco and you will need to have the money on hand to pay them at the counter for your weight overage. So make sure to check the airline website for the weight restrictions- Royal Air Moroc is 25 kg per bag – 2 bags per person and if you take multiple flights to get to staging you need to plan for multiple baggage restrictions.
Final advice on packing –
1. Use compression sacks and zip lock bags – you can reuse them later for storing stuff.
2. If you have particular brands or kinds of toiletries – bring a stash that can last you 3-4 months which will be hopefully when you have your apartment, a post box for family and friends to send you care packages!
3. Many brand products are available here although usually in larger cities at a higher price and/or equal price to America but in dirhams.
4. If you’re a plus size lady such as myself – pack what you need because its hard to find clothing in Plus Size here although most likely like me you will lose a bunch of weight and be requesting smaller size clothing sent to you!
5. Don’t worry about packing school supplies for your Dar Chabab – just pack enough for you to study Darija – notebooks etc