The Top Ten

Top 10 items that I packed in my suitcase:

  1. Photos from home
  2. Duct tape (I have not found it here, and it really is the most useful item I brought. Yes, it really does rank higher than my laptop.)
  3. Laptop
  4. Books/movies (lots of downtime)
  5. Reusable grocery bags (I use them on a daily basis)
  6. French press (unfortunately broken but has since been replaced)
  7. Sewing kit (I've hemmed curtains and sewn all sorts of useful items for my house)
  8. iPod (Is it possible to live without music?)
  9. Running shoes
  10. Sleeping bag

Top 10 items I have purchased for settling into my new home:

  1. Cell phone (Not sure it really fits the list, but that means calls from the States and Internet access)
  2. Solar shower (I don't know how I lived four months without it)
  3. French press (Well, I consider good coffee an essential)
  4. Water barrel (Keeps me from having to haul water from the tap every day)
  5. Buckets (Handy for hauling water when I need to refill the bucket)
  6. Rope (Hanging things from the rafters saves storage space)
  7. Wall hooks (Another space saver)
  8. Electric kettle (boils water super-fast)
  9. Tupperware (The obvious food storage use but also came in handy before I purchased dishes)
  10. Refrigerator (Well, I like food to stay fresh.)

Top 10 items I've received in a care package (and lots of thanks to everyone who has sent one):

  1. Pictures from home
  2. Thomas the Train Valentine's Day Cards from my nephew
  3. Starbucks coffee
  4. TLC granola bars
  5. A copy of TIME
  6. Stickers (I've mostly given them away to kids, but they still make me really happy to see them in the package.)
  7. Lotion from Bath and Body Works
  8. Duct tape (It hasn't arrived yet, but I was told it was coming. I've already used the roll that I brought with me.)
  9. Clothes that wouldn't fit in the suitcase and still have it meet the 80lbs. limit
  10. Relevant Magazine (Coming directly from Relevant--way to go to them for sending it to my the post office in my little village.)

Top 10 items that I just couldn't do without:

  1. Pictures from home
  2. Peanut butter (readily available and regularly purchased)
  3. Cell phone
  4. Books
  5. Britae filter (Peace Corps gave it to us. The water from our tap is really sandy. I've never seen a filter get so nasty so quickly.)
  6. Toilet paper (It almost makes going to the pit latrine seem normal.)
  7. Pee Bucket (Because my pit latrine is at least a hundred yards from the house, and I just don't want to traverse that at night.)
  8. Duct tape
  9. Buckets
  10. The big, fuzzy blanket from Peace Corps (It keeps me warm at night when the temperature gets down to 40°F and the tin roof and concrete walls let in the cold.)