Before I left for Peru, I obsessively read the blogs of other Peace Corps volunteers to try to figure out what I had gotten myself into and what things I should pack. A new training group, Peru 16, is arriving in Peru in September and, in case any of them are reading, here are some tips:
- You can’t wear flip flops to the training center
- Training is just like school… bring a backpack
- Plaza Vea (a Peruvian version of Wal Mart) is a short trip from where we have training. You can buy toiletries, socks, art supplies, towels… don’t waste valuable packing space and weight on them. Bring some trial size stuff and head to Plaza Vea when you get here.
- Your host family will love to learn about your life in the United States. Bring photos of family and friends to show them. I also brought a map of the United States and my host mom loved seeing where I lived and then finding the states where her past volunteers lived.
- Bring a watch.
- I would highly recommend ear plugs. It’s impossible to sleep when you have a rooster ten feet from your bedroom that likes to wake the town at three in the morning. Or when the tamale man starts wandering the town at 5:30 yelling “tamales!” into his megaphone. Or when you’re on an overnight bus and someone is snoring super loudly. Bring ear plugs.
- Craving Peanut Butter is no joke. Even if you don’t really eat Peanut Butter in the United States you’re going to want some here. You can find it but it’s super expensive. Bring some Peanut Butter.
- Some things I couldn’t live without: my journal, the Kindle, my laptop, an external hard drive full of movies, DVDs of favorite TV shows, an iPod, my digital camera – no real surprises there
- Ladies, tampons are expensive here. Bring a good supply.
- If something was important to you or special to you in the States, it’s going to be important or special in Peru, too. If you enjoy photography, Frisbee, or knitting bring the supplies you need. I love wearing different earrings and I’m glad that I brought my collection to Peru.
- When packing, think layers. It’s always cold in the morning when I leave for training, usually gets warm enough for short sleeves in the afternoon, and then cools off again by the time I leave the center. I would kill for another zip up sweatshirt/track jacket.
- You can never have too many pairs of underwear. You can re-wear dirty clothes but dirty underwear - I guess you could re-wear it but… I wouldn’t want to.
- Peace Corps Peru is pretty awesome. Be excited.
Of course, this is all based on my experience. The health/environment/wat-san programs might run their trainings completely differently then youth development.
If you have any questions or would like to talk about anything send me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be excited to hear from you.