September 20, 2012


Whoa, what a task.  Packing for two years doesn't sound like it would be easy, and let me assure you, it's not.

Let me explain the bag situation for the Peace Corps.  We get two checked bags with the length/width/height dimensions of both bags summing 107 inches or less.  Each bag can weigh up to 50 lbs, so we get 100 lbs total.   Most volunteers choose to take a rolling duffle and travel pack for hiking, but since I'm not such a hiker myself, I'm going to take a small duffle bag and large rolling suitcase.

Next, I need to explain how the bag situation works.  So we have training for 10 weeks after arriving in Mozambique, in which time we will be doing a homestay program and living with Mozambican families.  This is called Pre-Service Training (PST).  During PST, we only have access to one of our two checked bags. (The other will be locked in the Peace Corps office in Maputo.  Then when we are assigned to the location for the 2 years of service, we will have both of our bags for the remainder of service.

The problem with this is that the majority of my things I will need throughout PST such as my clothes, host family gifts, shoes, toiletries, etc.  Clearly, I need to pack my big suitcase for PST.  This was the daunting task I set out to do today.

I decided to roll my clothes, which overall I think was a good decision.  I have to admit, I did a fabulous packing job.  Everything fit perfectly into the suitcase when it was expanded the extra two inches or whatever that little zipper thing adds. Then it was weighing time.   With most of my shoes and a few other things still out of the bag, the weight was 60.5 lbs.  How.  Upsetting.

Luckily, one of the people in the Mozambique 19 facebook group let us in on the little secret that we can put things in different bags to make weight for the plane rides, but then switch things around once we get to Moz, before we leave for Namaacha (where our homestay will be).  This will be my saving grace.

I got my bag down to 51.5 lbs by taking some things out, but the moment of truth will be tomorrow when I pack my duffle and see how much it weighs... I'm already nervous.

So that's just a little inside info on the packing situation going on at the Brandt house.  Not gonna lie, it looked like my dresser threw up on my bed a few hours ago.  Also, good thing I have a sister that everyone thinks is my twin because I'm going to need some clothes to borrow over the next 5 days. :)

If you're interested, Namaacha is located 80km west of Maputo, right on the border of Mozambique and Swaziland.

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