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Six things I am taking to Zimbabwe

March 28, 2016

The last couple of weeks have seen a proliferation of Amazon boxes delivered to my door – and just as many returns – all in the effort to be as prepared as possible to go to Zimbabwe.

The choices and decisions have been overwhelming. How many hats do I need? Do I need SPF built into my clothes? Do I need a new camera that uploads to my cloud? (Yes to that one!)guide

Does my cloud have room for my stuff? Maybe I should get another cloud. Do I need a 128 GB SD card for my camera or will a smaller one do? Should I unlock my phone for a sim card or just buy a burner phone in Zimbabwe? (Because of course I pick one of the few countries my cell provider does not serve!) Who will take me to the airport? Oh, wait, I can buy gold in Dubai, let’s read up on how to haggle for gold in Dubai. Can I take a backpack of school supplies for the orphanage I will be visiting? If I take pencils don’t I need to take pencil sharpeners? Why doesn’t Dollar Store sell those? And oh, no, my opera glasses will not work on safari, I need binoculars, thank goodness REI has a 20% off sale!

My brain has been on overload with preparation. I have been overseas several times, but for some reason this trip seems larger than all the others. Maybe because part of it is a pilgrimage of sorts to honor a significant time in my parents’ lives, or maybe because it is Africa and that may be a bit scary, or maybe because I don’t want to forget anything I might need. I almost bought a solar charger at REI just in case I need it, but when I realized I was close to taking more chargers than clothes, I put the brake on my “just in case” purchases and decided I was done.

So what are six things that are going with me?

  1. Pictures!

Picture of the church in Old Mutare that my grandfather architected and my parents were married in – just to make sure I am at the right place!

churchPicture of the stained glass window my dad created; I am sure it is still embedded in the church structure. The picture below is only one part of the window.


Not sure why I am taking this, but the picture of my grandfather’s Rhodesia (as Zimbabwe was called in 1950) driver’s license.Grandpa rhodesia license

2. The perfect hat – it has SPF of 50, covers my face, and is cute, too. Made by Coolibar.

the perfect hat

3.  Ziploc bags. Not kidding! I have read much advice on the importance of having plastic bags available for everything from dirty laundry to hiding cash.

4. Self -explanatory.passport etc

5. Gratitude and patience. Yes, that is two but they work together. I am so fortunate that I can make this journey and I will practice patience! From all I have learned the people of Zimbabwe are lovely, friendly, and smile a lot.

6. Courage to do the gorge swing across Victoria Falls!

I am so excited!  Am I ready? As a good friend said, “When you step on the plane and buckle up, you’ll be ready!”




  1. Shauna permalink

    Some packing advice I was given that was very useful (and that you don’t read everywhere) – a sports bra is ideal for rough roads and safaris. 🙂

  2. Haha–I felt that way when we were getting ready for Panama! I don’t know if there are lots of bugs in Zim at this time of year, but the bug-repellant clothes we took really did work. I didn’t get a single bite! Also, your hat is really cute, but does it ventilate your head enough? I had problems with that sometimes.

  3. Mary Ellen sent me a link to your great blog! HOW EXCITING!! Congratulations!!
    You are going to AFRICA!! incredible! I wonder if you had to have as many shots as my nephew who is going into the Peace Corps in Ghana! crazy business! Pot lotion works great for bug bites but I don’t reco any challenges there!!! I did not know there were cameras that automatically uploaded to the cloud so thank you for that knowledge! I wish you the best and you already have the courage to do the gorge swing after your life experiences!! Swing on!
    — sarah

    • Sarah, thank you! I had typhoid and malaria pills is all. Great for your nephew, it will be an experience for him, too. Thanks for the swing push, it helps me know I can do it 🙂 Love hearing from you.

  4. Anonymous permalink

    Looks like you have thought of most every thing! Just stay focused and be safe. Keep yourself in condition “Yellow”.
    Have fun gal.

    • Thank you , Dave, I will be aware. Appreciate your concern 🙂

      • Dave permalink

        Are you aware of Zika virus? Looks like Africa is clean at this time. Just keeping track of your adventures. Just a heads up.
        Cancelled my visit to Nicaragua until things clear up.

  5. Wilma Christian permalink

    Sent from my iPad


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