You should be able to fit everything into your backpack/duffel bag and comfortably CARRY (not wheel) it yourself. Pack lightly! Bringing new, expensive clothes or gear is not needed or recommended. Be prepared for most of your clothes to get dirty on the worksite and on hikes. You will wash your clothes and have opportunities to buy new ones during your program. Please stick closely to this list as we do update it every year. We also expect you to follow our Culturally Appropriate Guidelines when packing, especially in regards to conservative clothing choice.
As you pack, please keep in mind that adequate trash disposal is a real issue in the rural communities, so please limit any plastics, unnecessary packaging, etc.
Valid Passport with a Ghana tourist visa stamped inside (refer to separate passport and visa information) and two photocopies of your "photo page" & your immunization card/information.
School/Student I.D. if you have one
Duffel Bag or Large Pack: To pack everything on this list. It’s fine if your duffel has wheels, but you must be able to carry it in those instances where you cannot wheel it. (see separate Luggage Consideration link)
Lightweight day-pack: For the plane and day trips.
Sleep-sheet: You can buy one or sew two sheets together like a lightweight sleeping bag. You do not need a sleeping bag.
Mosquito Tent or net: Nets are inexpensive, work well and can be left as gifts.
Work gloves: for the worksite, please write name on gloves with permanent marker prior to program.
Towel (1): A lightweight towel that packs up small is better than a bulky beach towel. Toiletries: Bring toiletries in small, travel size bottles; you can get more if needed. Women should bring tampons/pads. Use biodegradable products if possible.
Personal Medications: If you take prescription medications, bring enough for the entire program. Bring an extra pair of contacts/glasses. Do not bring antibiotics for general use. (i.e. Cipro)
Water bottles (2): 1 quart (durable plastic like "Nalgene")
Water Purification Treatment (enough for 50 liters/quarts): We recommend chlorine dioxide (Aqua Mira) and iodine, available at outdoor stores such as REI and EMS. Alternate purification systems, such as Steripen, are also options you may want to consider.
Garbage bags (3)/Ziplock bags (5): For storage/ laundry.
Headlamp: With extra batteries & bulb.
Insect repellent: Lotion or pump spray, not aerosol.
Sun block: 1 for skin & 1 for lips.
Travel alarm clock or watch with alarm
Money Belt: One that fits under your clothing.
Luggage Lock: Must be TSA approved. We recommend locks from www.safeskieslocks.com. For use throughout the program.
Personal Mini First-Aid Kit: “Less is more”; I will carry a fully stocked kit. Things you may want to have a personal supply of are:
o Alcohol swabs
o Pepto Bismol/Tums
o Gatorade or Emergen-C
o Anti-Itch cream Acidophilus/Probiotics (see Immunization link)
o Anti-bacterial gel/hand sanitizer
“Regular Wear” (1 outfit): Semi-casual clothes for going out, teaching and recreation girls. See Culturally Appropriate Guidelines. In addition to the above “Regular Wear” bring:
Underwear (7 – 8 pair)
Bras / Sports Bras (3 – 4)
Socks (5-6 pair) At least 1 pair should be synthetic for hiking
T-shirts (5): For worksite and hiking.
Lightweight long-sleeved shirt (2): At least 1 should be quick-drying material like polypropylene.
Lightweight rain jacket or poncho (1): Be sure to have good waterproof raingear.
Lightweight Pants (2 pairs): Khakis, wind/exercise pants, capris (below the knee) for work-site or recreation.
Lightweight Shorts (3 pairs): For work-site and recreation only. Athletic shorts work well.
Bathing suits (2)
Pajamas: Presentable for walking around your homestay
Sneakers or lightweight hiking shoes/boots (2 pair): They should be broken-in and comfortable, but sturdy enough to hike and work in.
Flip flops/slip-ons (1 pair)
Sunglasses Inexpensive, UVA/UVB. Polarized if possible.
Sun hat (baseball cap or brim hat)
Bandannas (1 – 2): For use as a washcloth/ headband.
Small Twi phrasebook
Small pillow/Travel pillow
Small travel umbrella
Sarong (use as a sleep sheet, beach towel, wrap skirt, etc.)
Tank-tops (2 – 3): For the beach only. Do not plan to wear these in your community.
Lightweight sweatshirt/fleece (1)
Sandals with ankle strap (1 pair): Sturdy and comfortable pair for walking and hiking such as Tevas, Chacos, Keens or Crocs.
Camera & Film (enough for the entire program; extra camera battery; extra memory card for digital cameras)
Thin cord/string: To hang clothes, etc.
Books & art supplies
Small musical instrument
Travel-size games: Cards, chess, Connect-4, etc.
Small bag with school supplies: You might consider bringing an extra bag or daypack full of: games, books and supplies for your community’s school.
Gifts for your Hosts
We encourage you to bring a variety of small and inexpensive gifts for children and adults in your host community. These gifts serve as great ice-breakers when getting to know your new friends. Consider bringing things which you've made yourself, that are typical of your "home" area or that would initiate fun activities together. Here are some suggestions:
Gifts for Homestay “parents”
Photos/albums of family
Postcards/calendars of home
Baseball caps, T-shirts, etc
Unique/local food (maple, etc.)
Gifts for children/ “siblings”
Sports equipment (i.e. soccer ball w/ pump & needle, Frisbee, hacky sack, jump rope, etc.)
Picture/ children books
Culturally Appropriate Guidelines
Please take some time now to review the following policies which we feel are critical to participating in safe and respectful programs. Though they may differ from what you are accustomed to on a daily basis at home, these are important packing guidelines which support our program goals.
Bring modest and versatile clothing.
See-through, tight or revealing clothing (i.e. spaghetti-strap tank tops, halters and midriff tops) or items that are torn or dirty are not appropriate dress in many of our program settings. On the worksite, dress is an important consideration for both safety (the sun can be quite intense and you will be working with rough materials) and role modeling (when working with youth and other community members). Therefore long, loose-fitting and durable clothes should comprise all of what you bring, including the “regular wear” outfits suggested on your packing list. Shorts and skirts should be as long as possible.
Part of maintaining the integrity of your cross-cultural experience lies in taking responsibility for presenting yourself – in word and action – respectfully to those around you. Thus we ask that you err on the conservative side. We will have a few opportunities throughout the program to contact home by mail, email and phone.