MEDA Blog - Stories from the Field

Packing for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

It’s under a day now until my departure to Addis Ababa. My goal had been to “frontload” my packing for fear of any unwanted popups. I believe I’ve done a semi-successful time of planning ahead. I have moved some times before – to London (Ontario) or Vienna – but preparing for Addis Ababa has its own set of challenges. Entering a developing African country typically means bringing everything with you that you would miss. With that being said, you can probably find the majority of actual necessities in-country. The issue only arises once we have to answer the question: what is a necessity?

So below you will find an extensive list of what I decided to bring. Perhaps this could be of use to future travelers on work placements in Addis Ababa, or a similar developing city with a high-altitude climate. Here it goes!

Important Documents
- Travel Immunization Record
- Extra different sized passport photos (6)
- Proof of graduation (work permit purposes)
- Photo copies of passport, atm/visa cards, birth certificate, sin card, provincial health card, student card, vaccination record
- Bank, health insurance & emergency contact information
- Reminder cards. Since I have not earned the habit of eating safely in a developing country, I created reminder cards to store in my purse summarizing some key statements.
- Flight tickets
- Passport
- Select photos of family and friends
- US$

Technology
- Camera, memory card reader, extra memory card
- Computer
- Video camera, DV tapes (5) + cleaning tape
- External Hard drives (3)
- Wristwatch with alarm
- Chargers
- Adapters (Europlug 2-prong + India/Asia 3-prong) this was a bit of a headache
- Surge Protector
- eReader
- Ethernet Cord
- Mp3 player & headphones

Gear
- Mosquito Net (permethrin soaked nets, advised as extremely effective, are not available in Canada)
- Bed sheet
- Towel
- Microfiber towel
- Umbrella
- Hand sanitizer (2)
- Water purification drops
- Emergency blanket
- Mosquito Repellent 30% DEET
- Flashlight
- Moist wipes
- First Aid Kit (assorted bandaids, blister bandaids, tweezers, alcohol pads, polysporin, waterproof matches, clotrimazole topical cream, surgical gloves, adhesive tape, scissors)
- Diarrhea Kit (chicken & beef bouillon, immodium, pepto bismol, gastrolyte, gravol, cipro)
- Laundry Kit (Woolite detergent travel packs, clothes line, sink plug – I’d recommend Austin House, tide to go, laundry bag)
- Kleenex
- Swimsuit
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen
- Scissors
- Pencil Case
- Double sided tape
- Bandana (for lengthy dusty travel)
- Paperback books (I brought…Richard Dowden’s Africa, Amharic Phrasebook, a book borrowed from a friend – Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, and a title I sourced in a Veinnese bookshop History of Ethiopia, Paul Henze. And of course, the much-loved Bradt guide on Ethiopia, Philip Briggs)
- Map of Ethiopia
- Blank small notepads
- One checked bag, one 45L carry-on backpack (I love MEC)

Personal Hygiene
- Facial wipes, eye makeup remover pads
- Hairdryer
- Personal medications (advil, caltrate, vitamin D)
- Contacts, solution, eye drops
- Lip balm
- Razors
- Toothpaste
- Preventative blister balm
- Favourite shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner
- Face cream, cleanser
- Sanitary napkins

Food
- Parmesan cheese: I’m not sure if this one is allowed but I’m going to claim it and see.
- Peanut butter (750g of Skippy is a true necessity for me!)
- Favourite Teas & Hot chocolate
- Lindt chocolate bars: I read a blog that the chocolate wasn’t very good so just in case I get that craving
- Spices (cumin, mustard, cinnamon, basil, thyme, oregano, salt&pepper)
- Sriracha hot sauce – only my staple ingredient in every dinner
- Soy sauce
- Protein bars (Cliff & Luna brand are great)
- Baking powder
- Almonds
- Travel mug: required for my coffee before work every morning

Clothing
Considering that most Ethiopians dress conservatively, I erred on the side of long-sleeve tops, pants and loose lightweight clothing.
- Variety of work-appropriate collared shirts (preference to long-sleeves)
- Basic tank tops for layering and casual cotton long-sleeve tops
- Slacks (3), capris , long shorts (2) and a pair of jeans
- Long skirt, pencil skirt, knee-length dress
- Cardigans (4), sweaters (4) and blazer (1)
- Footwear: boots, open-toe sandals, black pumps, tan flats, running shoes, walking shoes and flip flops
- Rain jacket, leather jacket
- Scarves (3), tights and leggings
- Gym strip (3)

This list may have been excessively exhaustive in the depth of information I provided. At the very least, it highlights what I perceive I need versus what many other people may require elsewhere.

Bon Appetit!
Carb overload

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