by Work the World

One of our students recently returned from her elective saying that it's pretty hard to get insect repellent with deet in it in Ghana. We decided to ask if there was anything in particular that other students noticed that they could or couldn’t get from the local shops.

Joe, our Programme Manager in Ghana confirmed that “It is indeed true that it is not common to find insect repellent with deet in it in Takoradi. You may get all the needed stuff but the issues is the standard and specification or brand. Though it is hard to get an insect repellent with deet in it, at least you will get what the locals refer to as mosquito repellent sprays or creams. There are also  varieties of shower gels and after shaves on the market. Just at the bottom of the hill from the house is Berdsack where students usually go to buy stuff both of foreign and local standards. Sun cream has been the only product that could not be bought from the local shops and I think the reason is obvious."Obibini" does not need any cream to protect him/her self from the sun!”

Students always leave bottles of sunscreen behind but do remember to take your own high factor lotion to protect yourself from the strong African sun.

In India it is the same. “Mosquito repellents in Trivandrum have only 10%-15% deet and therefore it is better to bring it from UK. All the other things are available at the same quality and often cheaper price.”

Everything seems to be available in Nepal, even marshmallows for the infamous bbq night!

In Argentina, Nat tells us that “no matter how much time you spend going up and down the aisles of Mendoza’s supermarkets, there are things that you just won’t be able to find, especially when it comes to food and drinks. The students in Argentina noticed several things that are part of their regular diet back in the UK and can’t be found in local shops.” Jo (as well as pretty much every British student) has tried to find English tea: “there is no English tea at the supermarkets, and I just came up with one English label but the price was ridiculously high!” Lucy has also been looking for things that haven’t made their way to Argentina. “I’ve noticed there is no marmite, brown sauce or squash in local shops. I tried a local recipe to take to my colleagues on the last day at the Paediatrics Department and had to replace the golden syrup with the local dulce de leche. It worked though, everybody was asking me for the recipe!”

In Arusha, the local corner shop called Tiger stocks a limited range of products like body spray, Nivea cream and Vaseline. The prices are quite expensive though.

Medical student Alexander told us “We are lucky in Arusha in as much as we only have to use a small amount of deet in the evening so one bottle usually lots. There is one thing though... If you’re planning to do Safari try and get binoculars from the UK as they are difficult to obtain here. If you can get them they are expensive”

Adventurous student, Richard decided to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro and had this advice “I thought that everything I needed for climbing Kili could be bought or hired in Arusha, for the majority of things this is true. Warm clothes could be hired only food and most medical supplies bought. However there are a few exceptions I would recommended bringing with you as they are not easily available. Touch/inner gloves, boots (hiring boot is a recipe for blisters and wrecked feet) Paracetamol, blister plasters, a small travel towel... Aside from stuff for climbing Kili I would recommend bringing far more camera memory cards than you think you need, you take thousands of photos even in a week, and although spare cards are available they are about 10,000 – 20,000 Tanzania Shillings (7 – 14 USD) more expensive than of home”

The students in Sri Lanka were surprised to see that most chocolate is available (very important!) even Kinder Joy and Pop Tarts...Shabiha says that most of the Chocs and Crips are available here. Obviously local brands are abundant but some of the brands like walkers crips are hard to find.

So, a bit of feedback as to what is available for you. Strange that most of them revolve around food and drink! TTFN!

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