Preparing for Ethiopia

Preparing for Ethiopia was a little different than preparing for any other study abroad trip. Common items such as toilet paper, tissues, soap, etc. are not readily available in Africa. Therefore, most of my packing involved minimal clothing and lots of snacks, tissues, hand sanitizer, wet wipes–you get the idea. I was told we probably would not have wifi, there would not be any hot water, and we would be lucky if we did have cold water to shower. To prepare for this, I told myself that I was going all in thinking I would have zero access to phone use, no water, and would bring lots of wet wipes and dry shampoo. That way, if my phone did happen to work or there were days when we did have freezing cold water, we could jump for joy with excitement. In my carry on bag I had all medications I may need while abroad, two full outfits (in case of lost luggage), TP, tissues, snacks, flashlights, and lots of wet wipes. As I prepared to depart, I gave out a list of emergency contact info to my friends and family and told them not to worry. When you go to Africa, don’t expect your phone to work, but also remember that no news is good news. Also, remember the reason you’re studying abroad. I went to provide nursing care to a region where people do not have access to clean drinking water and may only own one pair of clothing covered in holes. Just because the circumstances may not be ideal, don’t let that turn you away from a beautiful country with the most grateful and loving people.

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Author: Paula R

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