|What to Bring / What Not to Bring|
|VIA- Volunteers in Action|
Here are some guidelines for VIA and Long Term Volunteers to help you as you prepare to come to Uganda.
Pack a change of clothes and underwear and essentials in your carry-on in case your luggage is lost or delayed during the flight.
You should have your passport, plane tickets, vaccination card, wallet, credit cards, personal checks, calling cards, traveler's checks and money in your carry-on or wallet so that they are readily accessible for use at the airport.
If you are taking prescription medicines, check with the Field Visitors Coordinator to see if it's available here. If it isn't, bring a supply for the whole time you will be in Uganda.
Uganda has a very mature pharmacy industry and just about any medicine (and over the counter medicine as well) is available here. And prices are generally far cheaper (often dramatically cheaper) than the prices in the US or Europe.
Medicines you may want to bring with you are:
If you will be living on your own and cooking your own meals, you will want a basic cookbook as most of the cooking here is done from "scratch."
The field will provide an excellent "Newcomer's Cookbook" written specifically for use in East Africa. It includes a lot of simple recipes that require ingredients readily available here in Uganda.
There is a large variety of clothing available at the local markets and stores, but if you are particular on your style of dress, bring what seems best.
During the dry season, it tends to be warm so you will need mostly lightweight clothes. The evenings are generally cool throughout the year.
For the rainy season you may need long sleeves. Umbrellas and boots are locally available.
See the general orientation section for the dress code so you know what is culturally appropriate.
Because the sun is very intense in equatorial Africa, you are encouraged to bring a hat, although you can buy them here very cheaply.
All basic toiletry items are available in Uganda. However, if you have a favorite brand of deodorant, shampoo or other toiletry, you may wish to bring some with you.
Feel free to email your VIA or MVP Coordinator if you have questions about specific items and their availability here.
Other items that are available locally, but are slightly expensive here include:
We recommend you bring (or plan to buy) a hair dryer as wet hair in public is generally unacceptable. If you bring a hair dryer from the US, be sure that it can be set to run on 240v. Or, you may purchase a hair dryer here for about $20.
Most regular food supplies are available.
The following are some items which are imported and may be expensive or not available on a regular basis: cake mixes, marshmallows, pie fillings, dried fruits, canned cranberries, dream whip, chocolate chips, pickles, salad dressing mixes. Remember, if you have questions about your favorite kind of food and whether it is available, please do not hesitate to ask.
Do not pack food items together with soap, cleaning products or anything with a strong odor.
Other Miscellaneous Items to Bring
All long-term VIA (staying 3 months or longer) have the use of a cell phone. This expense will be included in your budget.
Cell phones are widely used in Uganda and can be purchased here very cheaply.
If you have a cell phone in the US which uses a SIM card, you can bring it and use it here if you wish. Be sure your cell phone charger can work with 220v.
If you work at Heritage International School, you will have access to internet and computers there. Depending on your length of stay and budget, you may have further access to internet. Most of our staff houses have wi-fi networks. Just remember, the internet in Uganda is often very slow and oftentimes we do have emails go missing (either coming to us or going out to others).
If you have a personal laptop you may wish to bring it with you, but be sure that it will operate on 220v (most will).
Please be aware that WGM is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged laptops. It is your decision to bring your laptop and to maintain it, including being sure you plug it into the correct adapters and power sources here. Be aware that we do have occasional power surges which can damage your laptop.
If indeed you bring your own laptop and you are assigned to work at HIS, the school does have wireless internet. Some hotels and/or cafés in town also have wireless service, but sometimes this is for a fee which you would personally pay.
What NOT To Bring With You