I had lots of worry before traveling; did I pack this or that?
Anyways, before coming to Kisumu, I did my research on weather, food, culture, diseases (yes..public health makes you more alert). But, I still felt unprepared.
So, in no particular order, here is what you need to know before going to a country. If this is your first time in an African country. Well, I hope this helps.
1. Be updated on your vaccines. Insurance in the States do not cover most vaccines, so you are more likely to pay out of pocket. If you are a student, it is best to use the school clinic, but do your research and compare prices. I only got yellow fever vaccine, so I was risking other types of diseases I could acquire based on doctor’s suggestions. You can get those shots here for super lowcost.
2. Pack light as a feather. As a female it is HARD. So YouTube videos did no justice as they added to my worries. You will end up buying things for yourself and people. So, you want your luggage to be light. May-July (dry season), so sunny, humid and sometimes rain (mostly in the evening). Small umbrella or raincoat is a must.
3. Medications. DO NOT GET YOUR MALARIA prophylaxis IN US. In Kenya it costs 1000-3000 ($10-$30). Depending on the brand and supply you get as compared to $ $150-$400 in the US. Don’t forget your personal med if you take any. Anti-diarrhea, Advil/Tylenol, antacid, etc. But, can get those medications here as well.
4. Personal Hygiene. Bathing soap, body lotions, make-up, deodorant, perfume, toothpaste, etc. Things you use on a daily basis. DO NOT FORGET. All can be bought in a store for a more expensive rate. For instance, my body lotion and deodorant that cost me $8 and $2.50 is literally twice the amount here ($16 & &7.50).
5. Snacks. If you have a specific snack you love. Bring it with you, or do away with your cravings. I am learning the hard way. Hehe.
6. Adapter-converter & power-bank. Chargers made for Africa’s outlet can be easily bought, but that’s for cellphones, etc. I still suggest you buy portable one.
7. Sunscreen. DO NOT FORGET. I am black, but I have three different shades on me. My sunscreen does nothing, so I have to adjust to the lining of tank-top on my back everyday. Get a strong sunscreen.
8. Bug spray: It is best to bring a strong bug spray that’ll do the trick.
9. Filtered water bottle, backpack flashlight. Bottled water can be bought; as low as 70 cents for a 1.5ml Dasani bottle, but extra measures (chlorea outbreak). A backpack & small purse to move around with. Flashlight for late night outing. The electricity situation in Kenya is pretty good. Once in a while blackout, but not a 24 hours experience as assumed (at least so far).
10. You know what you need when traveling, but do not forget to bring what you know you think you won’t be able to find elsewhere for a decent price. In all, PACK LIGHT. I regret bringing lots of clothes that I have no space for as I pack to leave.