To be honest, since my stay here is significantly shorter than my anticipated 26 months in the Peace Corps, since I had a slightly better idea of what to pack, and since the food here actually has nutritional value, there is little that I need for myself.
If you have the inclination to send something, what we could REALLY use is books for the local schools and mobile libraries. Books written in English are very hard come by here in Ethiopia, and are quite costly even when available, yet, as we all know, reading provides so many benefits, in addition to helping facilitate language learning. Because the books are intended to aid in language learning, the sort of books we are looking for are primarily children’s books, with simple words and ideas—think Cat in the Hat—and perhaps some geared at young adults (although when in doubt, it is best to err on the simpler side, as more students will be able to utilize them).
You can also check Link Ethiopia’s website, www.linkethiopia.org, to see if they have any donation requests that you can help out with, or even make a monetary donation through their paypal account (note: Link Ethiopia is a British NGO, and as such, donation amounts are in Pounds or Euros, NOT US dollars, unless otherwise specified. Make sure to check the exchange rates for the currency indicated in the donation field before entering a donation amount, to ensure that you are indeed donating the amount you intend to!)
If you really feel inclined to send things for me, I certainly won’t turn them down. As always, dark chocolate (no milk) is always a priority, and if you have any of the following television shows that you could send on a CD, that would be amazing:
GLEE: Any seasons!
Dexter: Seasons 4 and 5 (well, as far into 5 as you can get :o)
Mad Men: Season 2 and beyond
The Office: Any
30 Rock: Any
Sex and the City: Season 3 and beyond
Any other TV shows/movies/music that you think I might like.
Additionally, if you happen to be sending a package anyway, and felt inclined to throw in a tube of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste (any), deodorant/anti-perspirant, tampons (no applicator—too much unnecessary trash/not always a place to dispose [sorry; probably TMI, but it is what it is]), shampoo (my favorite is Whole Foods generic 365 brand, for normal/oily hair, but any that’s vegan is fine :o), soap, iodine, Gator Aid powder (bottled water is expensive, and I’ve primarily been filtering tap water, and adding a touch of iodine, but I don’t necessarily think it’s the healthiest, so I’ve been adding Gator Aid so hopefully I will retain more and won’t have to drink quite so much). I packed all of this stuff, but not exactly sure if I have enough.
And as always, letters, e-mails, and kind words mean everything to me! Love you all so much—I am very happy for this opportunity, but am also excited for the time to come when I can actually see you all again! THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!!!