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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Paranoid or prepared? What's in my bag.




Some people may be shocked by the things I carry. In addition to crucial items like, you know, my phone and camera and notebook and stuff, I always throw this small floral pouch into my bag when heading out to snap photos and do some reporting.

1) Handkerchief: essential for whipping excessive sweat off my brow and thereby avoiding sweat dripping into my eyes and reducing visibility and picture-taking abilities.

2) Emergenc-C: I pour this powder into a bottle of water for a bit a of extra energy (possibly the placebo type) and to make borehole water more palatable.

3) Bag o' meds: pain killers, antidiarrheals, band aids, and a Z-pack and Cipro. Self explanatory.

4) Wet Wipes: way better than hand sanitizer. That stuff just rubs the dirt into your hands and leaves them sticky, and with these, you get the antibacterial cleaning agent in a wipe form that will actually leave your hands feeling clean. I like the lemon scented ones, or whichever ones are on sale when I'm in the USA and stocking up.

5) Sunscreen: my mom sent me a package once with this fancy little tube of sunscreen. Works just as well as the cheap kind that I usually buy.

6) Press pass from the Daily Monitor: sometimes someone asks me for an ID card who doesn't actually need to check my ID, or who I think might not return whatever ID card I hand over. I have friends who carry around expired library cards or random sports club membership cards, etc, for the same reason - just to hand over a piece of laminated plastic to over-anxious inspector-types. This one works for me because it says "PRESS" and because if I lost it, I'd be sad for sentimental reasons, but still have my necessary UNMIL press accreditation pass tucked in my pocket.

7) Business cards: I don't give these out that often, which is probably why I've yet to get new ones with my Liberia phone number on them. One day I'll get spiffy ones here, but for now, these will do.

8) Hair clips: my hair is too short for a pony tail but long enough to get in my way. Hence clips.

9) Pen: I heart different color pens.

10) Tissues: self explanatory.


Even if I don't need all of these things every time I'm in the field, I just keep this pouch packed and ready and I don't even think about what's in it. And even if I don't need everything every time, someone I'm around probably does need something. Especially if I'm working with someone less prepared (or paranoid) who still wants to have clean hands or flavorful water.

Cross-posted on my Frontline Club blog.

4 comments:

christolles! said...

Just curious - do you have any experience with the oral cholera vaccine which supposedly doubles as a super-effective anti-diarrheal for the first 6 months? I had a doc tell me not to bother with Cipro due to my cholera vaccination...

And what situations require Z-Pak versus Cipro?

Thanks from a fellow temporary Liberian...

Scarlett Lion said...

I haven't heard of this cholera stuff so can't really speak about it.

A z-pak is good for any non-stomach kind of sickness. And Cipro for stomach sickness. That is my vague and non-medical understanding :-)

Michal said...

what a fun post!

Ciona said...

Oh, the perils of getting money in Liberia! I remember them all too well . . .
So glad I stumble-tumbled into your blog! Peace!