Here is my original packing list. Below the original list, I have two edits. Admittedly, many things on this list are highly specific to my self-care needs; I packed so I wouldn’t have to shop for household items for at least a month. Most of these things are easily available in Abidjan. Again, follow what makes sense for you and ignore what doesn’t. Here is a PDF version of the original list.
Personal note: I feel like Americans have this misconception that going to Africa is comparable to camping and that you shouldn’t bring the things that make you comfortable. Bring anything you would bring to college or a move to a new city! Just like with any temporary move, just don’t bring anything unnecessarily valuable.
Things I Cannot Recommend Enough
The Anti-Theft Backpack. I got mine this past summer and I’m in love with it. It is really nice to never have to worry about being pickpocketed, especially when you’re walking around with sensitive documents in your early days.
Birkenstocks. I live in mine. I think they’re the perfect walking sandals.
Thank you cards/I ❤️NY t-shirts. You’ll encounter a ton of incredibly sweet people. It’s nice to leave people with parting gifts. Bring something small from your hometown.
EDIT: Things I Wish I’d Packed
HDMI cord and adapter (for movie nights)
One set of sheets and one nice towel (pricer here, plus I still haven’t found large fluffy towels yet)
Paper towels (annoying to hunt for a supermarket in the early days)
SPICES (you can find them at the market but it sucks to be without salt for a few days)
Sheet masks. I usually anti sheet masks, but while I was getting adjusted to the heat, it would have been nice to stick one in the fridge and put it on
Multivitamins. Your diet will drastically change (and you may run into gastrointestinal issues, so having these isn’t a bad idea)
Two large suitcases instead of a nesting three-pack. Airlines care about the weight of your luggage, not the size. I ended up with an overweight large suitcase and two smaller underweight but packed to the brim ones. Do yourself (and your wallet) a favour and only bring large suitcases.
EDIT: Things I Wish I Left Behind
Netgear box (depends on how many devices your phone can hotspot at one)
Mouthwash tablets (I’m not sure why they made the original list)
Extra phone (I could have gotten a replacement here)
My wigs (it’s too hot)