What to Pack

What is the weather like in the country of destination and how will that affect the way that I pack?

You can conduct a google search to determine the exact weather conditions in your country of destination. You can also have a look at the Canadian Foreign Affairs & International Trade Website..

Sunscreen, mosquito repellent and a mosquito net are highly recommended.

Because heat is a constant issue, you will need to make sure that you are drinking the water provided for you on site at all times. When packing, you should take items of clothing that are light and easy to wash, so that you can re-use them several times. Often team participants leave behind their work clothing to be used by the workers at the project.

Suggested packing list:

  • Backpack or small carry on bag
  • Sturdy Water bottle with carrier – should be empty for airline travel
  • Small flashlight with new batteries
  • Two single sheets, pillow, pillowcase
  • Two towels, washcloth
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, Purrell, wet wipes
  • Sunscreen and insect repellant with deet
  • Prescription medicines (keep these in their original containers and pack in carry on luggage)
  • First-aid items
  • Pharmacy items such as: Pepto-Bismol, Immodium, laxatives, eye drops, throat lozenges, chapstick
  • Camera, with plenty of batteries and memory
  • Hat and work gloves
  • Work clothes: shorts and t-shirts (no short-shorts or halter tops)
  • Casual clothes for days off and evenings (again, be modest in your dress)
  • Church clothes: dress or skirt and top for women, casual pants and shirts for men
  • Work shoes (work boots not mandatory)
  • Spending money for drinks, souvenirs, etc.

Optional items:

  • Mosquito net (highly recommended)
  • Battery operated portable fan (small)
  • Snacks (including comfort items such as jam, juice crystals etc.)

Are there occasions when I’ll need formal clothing? Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate? On the work site, shorts and t-shirts are acceptable but should be modest. Do not wear short shorts or show your midriff or cleavage. Bra straps and underwear should not be visible. During leisure time dress is casual and comfortable, but again, modest. When going to a local church it is suggested that men wear pants and collared shirts and women wear skirts or casual dresses. Please ensure that tattoos are covered at all times.

Will there be opportunities for sporting activities?

Most of our project sites will only have rustic sports facilities. We encourage team members to use their creativity and the experience of previous team members to organize sports activities with the children. Ideally, if a team member has some athletic abilities, he or she can help coordinate a series of events during the length of the team experience where other team members will have a chance to interact with the children.

Do I need specific work gear such as steel toed boots, a hard hat, work gloves, safety glasses, and a safety mask?

Will any of these be provided? Safety gear is not provided on site at our projects. Team participants are responsible to bring the items required for personal safety while at the work site.

Bedding, towels, and supplies: Every participant is asked to bring a set of bedding (including pillow) for a single bed and a towel for personal use. We encourage you to leave these items for project at the end of the trip.

Luggage and weight restrictions: For most regular carriers, each passenger is allowed two 50 lb pieces of luggage and one carry on bag when traveling from Canada. With this luggage allowance, Careforce often requests that you pack one piece of luggage to meet their needs over the course of the team experience. We often ask that you check a second piece of luggage for us, which contains supplies or donated goods for the project. It is important that you inspect the additional piece of luggage that you will be checking since you will be asked about this at departure. It is important that you arrive at the airport well before departure for all team luggage to be organized and accounted for. Meeting #4 will be a “packing party” a few days before departure.

An exception to the luggage allowance and weight restriction can be on charter flights traveling to the Caribbean. These flights generally have a very small luggage allowance (20-30lbs). The luggage allowance and weight restriction also changes from country to country and particularly when traveling within African countries. Going over the required limits could be very costly and would be at your expense.

Taking gifts for the local people, children, and sponsor child: If you want to do something special for the children, rather than taking an item specifically for a child, it is preferable that you bring a gift that can be shared with all the children at the project. (eg. video and popcorn for a movie night, small candies or cash to purchase a special meal or treat for the children.) If you are set on taking a gift for a particular child, you can check with the Program Leader to make sure that the gift is culturally appropriate. If you want to take a gift for any of the local people, especially if a friendship has been previously formed, we encourage you to do so. When it comes to distributing gifts in the host country, make sure to check with your team leader on site to know when it is appropriate to give this gift and how to proceed according to culturally accepted rules.

Are there specific items that are needed at the project that I could gather and take with me? Careforce is constantly seeking to update the needs list for the projects where we send teams. Your Team leader will distribute an updated needs list at one of your team meetings.