7 Packing Tips for Volunteers

27 January 2016

Packing tips for Canadians headed to the Africa Mercy suggested by the crew who know what comes in handy, and/or have found themselves in a pickle once or twice!


1. If your headed to the ship long-term or are taking part in the sail to a new country, invest in a hammock. They can be hung up on deck 7 while the ship sails, creating a nice natural, relaxing swing.


2. A head lamp is always a win. Since street lamps are not commonplace in Africa, venturing out at night, especially on your bike, can be a bit dangerous without any light (pot holes can be more like craters!)


3. Buying inexpensive 220 V electrical hair-dryers/straighteners/any other hair styling tool is better than bringing your own to get fried (credit to Ally Jones, Africa Mercy Human Resources Manager, for the above three tips!). A side note, the ship is quite cool, so going to bed with wet hair can bring on a cold.


“Be super careful of the of voltage and use of adapters –blew up my hairdryer the first time I used it!” –  AFM alumni Jane McIntosh from Sidney, BC


4. Cargo pants (or capris) are GREAT for hands free storage if you’re working at or visiting locations off ship and need to bring, among other things – bug dope, sun screen and hand sanitizer (ladies light weight cargo pants can be harder to find so we hear, second hand stores can be a good place to start but if you know of any stores that sell them, comment below!). Or might we even suggest a fanny pack?


5. Suitcases take up space! Try to get the duffle bag style on wheels, if possible – or at least one that collapses very flat. The space under the bunks is very small in height. If your suitcase is too fat to fit underneath…it will end up in your living room, if you have one 🙂


6. Streets are usually dusty and dirty, and when it rains, muddy. Canvas material shoes/flats are a good option as you can throw them in the washing machine and they will dry quickly, but if you’re onboard for more than a couple months, it is a good idea to bring a few pairs of inexpensive flats so you can let them go when they get too grungy (also, give the soles of your shoes a wash when you come in from being around town so you don’t bring something unwanted into your cabin).


7. If you’re feeling dirty at any point in the day baby wipes are great to have on hand on the ship and off.


Stay tuned for more Mercy Ships tips!