Updated 22 April 2011
Do not ship anything after July 31, 2011! It won't get to me before I leave, and while that will make the rest of Koutiala Kaw quite happy, it will make both you and I sad.
I'm going to try to keep this up to date with things I am actually craving. Please bear in mind that packages are expensive, take a long time, and sometimes go astray. Do NOT send me anything of value, anything perishable, or anything you don't actually feel like sending me. I'm fairly happy with what I have, and I already have a lot of stuff. I will be fine without anything else from America for the next five months. That being said, packages, letters, post cards, Skype text messages to my cell, emails, and even facebook wall posts are glorious, and I adore getting them. So disclaimer aside, here is my (incomplete but still very long) wish list.
- Call me or text me! Send me a letter! Send me a CD of new-to-me music or pictures of your life!
- Come visit! You know you've been looking for an excuse to visit Africa...
- Herbal infusions or flavored teas
- Redbush Chai (Yogi Tea)
- Traditional Medicinals cold-healing, immune supporting, kinds of tea
- Things to give my dog and my cat
- Treats! (Regular kibbles work just fine for toh-eating kitties and puppies)
- Flea/tick collars or drops or whatever will keep the bugs off
- Snack / Food Items
- Goya Red Lable Black Bean Soup
- Cheese! (non-perishable, of course) - BabyBels came through very well
- Candy, crackers, quick easy items
- Dried Fruit and Nuts (but not mango because it rains them here during hot season, or dates because we are inundated with them, and definitely not peanuts!)
- LUNA / Lara / Cliff / granola bars
- CHOCOLATE (This may require some creativity because of the heat here. M&Ms seem to travel well.)
- Powdered Foody Stuff
- Drink Mixes, especially sport ones for re-hydration because ORS is icky (well not gross, but Gatorade is tastier) and I'm always on the edge of dehydration (as are most Americans, but they don't have to deal with the dry heat here)
- Spices! They're hard to get around here.
Cake / cookie / brownie mixes
- Mac&Cheese cheese (see note about pasta below)
- Hippie-dippie toiletries (and health items)
- I've been using Burt's Bees Hand Salve on my feet (it's a backwards country, ok??), and something like that would be glorious, although shea butter (which is readily available here) works just as well, it just doesn't smell as good
- Hair decorations
- Tea Tree Oil is my favorite scent for any and every kind of toiletry
- Yes I'm aware of the irony of shipping environmentally friendly items across the Atlantic, so please don't make any of these a priority, but if you have a little extra space...
- Do NOT send:
- Peanut Anything (I'm inundated with fresh awesome peanut everything)
- Pasta, or basically any other starchy thing, also inundated
- Anything valuable (I reemphasize this - whatever you do do not indicate any value on the customs form!)
- Clothes I'll want to bring back to the US! It's already daunting thinking about fitting 2 years of my life into a carry on and one piece of luggage, don't make it worse, please!
- Anything else I might want to bring back to the US - I can just get it in September, saving it for me will give me an excuse to come visit you, right?
I'm given to understand that the best possible method for getting things to me is the US Postal Service. Flat Rate boxes and envelopes are the way to go to avoid ridiculous fees (although they'll still set you back upwards of $60 a pop). DHL or any other shipping company is to be avoided. If you need my address, check facebook or simply ask me. It's very simply my name, my box number, and my city (plus Mali, Africa so they know what part of the world it's coming to). If for some reason there's a zip code requirement, MLI or MALI will work.
My mom and I have had some fun with a website called DinoDirect, which has free shipping worldwide, if you desire to send me easily-broken electronics! (OK, so some of their stuff probably wouldn't be as easily broken if where I lived weren't so Mali. I was just mentioning it, gosh.)