A packing list can be found in your orientation packet, but here are some more guidelines:
When packing clothing for the trip, please keep in mind our daily activities: we will be working during the day (bring old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty) and after showering, will be eating dinner and socializing in the evenings (bring clothes other than working clothes). For the worksite, loose, comfortable clothing is best. Don’t forget to bring the Habitat shirt that you received with your packet! Please note the guidelines below- tank tops and shorts are okay during downtime, but they cannot be worn on the worksite.
Laundry is typically available at the hotel, so you do not need to pack an entire week’s worth of clothing. Bath towels will be provided.
For the worksite:
Lightweight t-shirts (no spaghetti straps or tank tops)
Long pants, such as jeans or hiking pants (no shorts are allowed on the worksite)
Closed-toe shoes with a hard sole (work boots if you already have them, otherwise, gym shoes are perfectly fine)
Hat and bandana
Chapstick with sunscreen
Work gloves (you can find these at any Ace, Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.)
Reusable water bottle
Gatorade/Powerade powder to add to your water
Small backpack or bag to carry your things to the worksite
Here’s a picture of a recent volunteer group- this is what you should wear- look at all of that great sun protection!
Off the worksite:
Lightweight casual clothes (shorts are fine)
Baby wipes or make-up wipes (feels great and gets the dirt off of your face after a long day!)
First aid items (there will always be a first aid kit on site for emergencies, but it’s nice to have bandaids, tylenol, pepto bismol, etc. for yourself!)
Any medications you may need
Earplugs (you will be sharing a room)
Small flashlight, just in case
Snacks- granola bars, nuts, etc.- in case you get tired of beans and rice
Swimsuit for beach day
Shower shoes/Beach shoes
Zip-lock or plastic bags for soiled clothing/shoes
Spanish/English pocket dictionary, if you’ll be attempting some Spanish
And of course, don’t forget your passport, ID, and money!
What not to bring:
Anything expensive or valuable (leave your nice watch at home)
Large amounts of cash
As you have read in your Orientation Handbook, Habitat for Humanity has a very important policy on gift-giving. I’ve pasted it below, but essentially, giving gifts can cause major disturbances (even though you have the best possible intentions and may not even be aware of the effects of your gift.) If you would like to donate anything, we will give it to the affiliate, who will distribute it appropriately and fairly. You joining this trip is a huge gift in and of itself! See the policy below:
Habitat for Humanity takes a very strict stance on avoiding paternalism and fostering any sense of dependency or inequality among our partnering communities. Our Habitat partners have asked that team members not bring gifts such as radios, watches or special favors for individual families on any trip. The most well-intentioned and (from our perspective) most minor gift can often create jealousy, competition and enmity.
Donations to the local affiliate that benefit an entire community such as school supplies, small tools and clothing are welcome and appreciated and will be distributed by host affiliate personnel. We ask that your team leader always remain the first point of contact for this type of in-kind or monetary contribution.
Team members occasionally are approached by hosting community members about sponsoring a child in the community. This too is discouraged; Habitat strives to promote independence and personal capacity, not create dependence on others— especially those outside of their own community. Such acts of generosity also raise the community’s expectations of future GV teams. If you are interested in further supporting the host community, please contact your GV team leader.