Day 2 - Pre Service Training - Packing List

We did more of the same thing today. Lots of little group activities to make us aware of potential problems and think up some solutions. One of the more interesting things brought up today at lunch and other times just chatting with people was, “What luxury items did you bring?” Lots of people have i-pods, at least four other people are bringing laptops. A couple have books, the Harry Potter series appears to be pretty common. Jeff found several guys who brought Frisbees. There is one guy with his guitar. It’s interesting what you decided is something you’d really like to have with you.

This is a list of what I brought:

3100 cubic inch hiking back pack
Regular school type backpack
Eagle Creek kidney bean Purse
3 canvas / net bags

3 packages of OBs - 1 of panty liners
2 bottles of saline solution
1 bottle shampoo
1 bottle body wash
3 bottles of foundation
Toothpaste and brush
Collapsible hair brush
Nail kit
Cranberry Pills
Hand Mirror
Small selection of Make up

Teva Sandals
Brown dress sandals

Dark green shorts
Brown grey shorts
Blue patchwork skirt
Khaki skirt
Cargo khakis
Khakis Linen capris
Linen brown pants
Scrub blue pants

Dark Burgundy target dress

Socks - 5 pair
Undies - 15 pair
Bras - 6 bras
Swimsuits - 2
2 sets of glasses
6 sets of contacts
3 bandanas
Flat sheet
Sewing kit
1 Thermarest (sleeping pad)

8 tank or sleeveless shirts
4 work shirts
2 button up shirts
1 sweater zip up

My Luxury items are:
Gone With the Wind
My embroidery hoop and a project
A black dress and black shoes

I had a dream about bringing the black dress and shoe set, so Sarah and Sara if you are wondering, that’s why I put them in even though you convinced me not to take them. The Peace Corps allows 80 lbs of checked luggage. Mine weighs out at 39 pounds including the carry on. Jeff, however, is just under 78 lbs and that’s not including carry one. He gets up to 90 with his carry on. His luxury items are a tent, sketch books, the laptop and some mutual toiletries.

If a future volunteer is reading this perhaps you would benefit from a list of what I wish I had brought. There isn’t much but, I wish they had told us to bring more than two outfits of business casual. Today they told us we would need to dress business casual for the first six weeks of training and possibly longer. I’m sure we can buy clothes in country, but I wish I had known that. If I get a chance I’ll come back and update this list. I’m sure there are other things. However, it’s always good to keep in mind we will be in a town close to Panama city and we can always buy things we need, so if in doubt, leave it out.

One more thing, there are products such as silica packets that are sold to absorb humidity in electronic cases. Panama is really humid and it wouldn't hurt to invest in a couple packets before you leave if you plan to bring an I-pod, camera or computer. Or you can just go to Payless and take those little packets out of the shoe boxes.


  1. I'm glad you decided to take the dress especially if 1)you had a dream about it and 2)you are already running out of dress clothes!

    I wonder what my luxury items would be...

    It's kind of cool that you actually get to play out the scenario, "If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only have 80 lbs. worth of stuff what would you bring?"

  2. Hi Foy and Jeff,

    I've really enjoyed reading through your blog, as I'll start training as a PCV in Panama on April 16th.

    The packing list is great. I am wondering if there is anything else that you wish you would have brought or anything that you did bring and wish you hadn't.

    In particular, I am debating about bringing a laptop (I'll be a CEC volunteer) and a solar-powered outlet. I also would like to bring my tent and hiking gear.

    Foy, have you been able to keep your contacts clean? The PC has suggested wearing glasses exclusively, but I'd really like to be able to wear my contacts.

    I'm sure that your internet time is limited, so if you don't get back to me it is no problem.

    Also, if you guys are craving any little treat from up here or need something from the States, let me know and I can bring it down and leave it at the PC headquarters.

    Thanks again for all the helpful hints.


  3. Anonymous7/14/2008

    Good morning. I am a RPCV from Ghana('2005-2007). I am coming to Panama to look in to some business opportunities my family has going on down there. I dont know Panama at all and am heading down this Wednesday (16th of July)for a couple weeks. Wanted to know if you would want to get together for a beer or two and let me pick your brains about Panama? Please email me at
    ghanaadam2007@yahoo.com thanks a bunch
    Adam Chapman