So rare, much care, package!
September 11, 2006 2:02 PM   Subscribe

Composing a care package for friend in Sudan -- what to include?

A friend is working in Sudan for the next year. What sort of things should I start collecting for inclusion in care packages?

What sort of things should I avoid sending?
posted by cior to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
Do you think that these care packages will actually be delivered? Not to be snarky, but I've had a hard time getting stuff to Gambia, Niger, and even Turkey.
posted by sulaine at 2:07 PM on September 11, 2006

Response by poster: I have no expectation about delivery, but I feel that the most honorable thing would be to try. That said, I have the resources to waste, assuming that nothing ever arrives.
posted by cior at 2:09 PM on September 11, 2006

Response by poster: Further clarification, he'll be working in Khartoum.
posted by cior at 2:16 PM on September 11, 2006

I would suggest a kit for purifying water; a mosquito bed liner; a slim cookbook for entertaining; and a baseball hat of his favorite team.
posted by parmanparman at 2:22 PM on September 11, 2006

In addition to the other suggestions so far... mints, gum, books, pictures of recent happenings and parties with friends/family/pets, and plenty of good luck.
posted by terpia at 2:32 PM on September 11, 2006

i mailed a things to Khartoum a few times over the last year and, while Sudan isn't incredibly well serviced by postage companies, the packages more often than not do get there (fwiw, i've been using DHL).

I found that in Sudan a lot of western foodstuff is not available (or, if it is, is incredibly overpriced) - so chocolate, vegemite etc. I'd also recomend sending books as Khartoum has only one bookshop i know of and that has only a limited section with english language books.

(also, i should add that if he's in Khartoum, water purification tablets shouldn't be necessary since bottled water is cheap and readily available)
posted by tnai at 2:50 PM on September 11, 2006

As a former Peace Corps volunteer in Gabon, cool things that either I or friends received in care packages:

-a box full of books (included the classics, or biographies of people such as Malcolm X)
-light items/even dime store items that would entertain kids (a relative sent me a musical card for my birthday - that provided hours of entertainment for kids in my village; a Far Side calendar also provided hours of entertainment).
-Familar products that you may enjoy from your home country (believe it or not, punch mixes were great-after a year you miss that)
posted by Wolfster at 3:22 PM on September 11, 2006

I have a friend that was in Iraq for the longest time. He always loved getting bottles of good sunscreen.
posted by drstein at 7:40 PM on September 11, 2006

I used to live in Uganda, and while not all packages made it over in a timely fashion, what did arrive was very appreciated! Unless he specifically requests it, you can assume that he's brought all the 'need to have' stuff with him, and he'll be appreciative of the 'nice to have' stuff. Those are the things that brought happiness to my day, anyway.

Send him an "itty bitty booklight" (or something like it) - I'm assuming he doesn't have constant electricity to read or watch tv by; and this was a lifesaver.

Send him a CD with new music on it - African internet connections are generally too slow to download music, and you get soooo sick of listening to the same stuff over and over. Even if he went with lots of music, its still exciting to be sent new stuff, because its probably the only new music he'll hear all year.

Send him some really good portable junk food. (I got excited about granola bars, pick something he'd like but can't get there, especially if its a favourite brand.)

I don't know what the 'guy' equivalent of this is, but I loved getting "little luxuries" - like yummy lip balm or new funky earings. For a guy - maybe a cool t-shirt or a portable game of some kind - Scrabble was awesome for when the power went out.

And of course, reading material - a few favourite magazines would be good, its hard to find anything like that over there, and/or a really GOOD book - one he'll read over and over and be able to trade. Books were a highly traded item in Uganda.

Hope this list helps; but whatever you send him, know that he'll probably just be happy that you went to the trouble of sending him anything.
posted by Kololo at 8:24 PM on September 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

oh yeah, and if you send it by courier, make sure to understate the value of the contents on the form. The cheaper/crappier it sounds, the more likely it'll actually get to him. (I sent a box full of CDs, a flashlight, chocolate, and books to a friend that is still in Kampala, and labelled it "paper goods, candy." It got there in record time!)
posted by Kololo at 8:28 PM on September 11, 2006

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