Friends of Mandritsara – Volunteers

a. Things to bring – Visitors

Most items for daily living can be bought in Mandritsara, but there will be some things you cannot purchase here, plus extra things you would not normally require at home. You may therefore wish to pack:

Toiletries:
  • Sunscreen – high factor
  • Deodorant (available in the capital, Tana, but you may wish to bring some you know works well!)
  • Specific toiletries – You can get quite a lot in the supermarkets in Tana; soap, toothpaste in Mandritsara; but if you have a particular brand you use you may want to bring this.
  • Sanitary protection (you can buy tampons and towels in Tana but more expensive than at home; you can only get towels in Mandritsara)
  • Foot scrubber
Medical supplies:
  • Malaria prophylaxis (see details below)
  • Any long-term medication you need (You can get antihistamines and antibiotics at the hospital)
  • First aid kit, if you’re planning to travel
  • Travel sickness tablets
  • Insect bite cream
  • Anti-mosquito spray/lotion
Other things to bring:
  • Sunglasses
  • A good sun hat
  • Glasses and spare pair? Contact lenses and solutions as necessary? (see below)
  • A few specific food items such as packet sauces, flavourings, Marmite, tea, instant drinks…..
  • Clothes for warm/hot weather – thin cotton (see below)
  • Torch (battery or solar/wind-up)
  • Batteries (long life or rechargeable) and torch
  • Adapter plugs if necessary (European with two round pins and an earth point)
  • Surge protector for your electrical goods (very valuable in rainy season)
  • An unlocked mobile phone; it is now possible to use a smart phone in Mandritsara
  • For health professionals coming here to work, please bring your CV and your original qualification certificates or legally certified photocopies so that we can register you with the medical authorities (ONM)
  • Euro or US Dollar currency to buy your visa at the airport – see ‘Visa Price Guide’ in section E – ‘In Tana’.

Clothes

Some western-style clothing can be shocking to people here and so, as we seek to respect cultural expectations and interpretations with regard to the way we dress, we ask you to please be aware of the following dress code when packing

Normal, everyday wear:  It is quite normal for both men and women to wear long shorts, or trousers, for general wear.  Tight and revealing clothes are not acceptable, for example women should not wear vest tops, short t-shirts which reveal bare waists, or short skirts or shorts – even for sport.  It is common for both men and women to wear sandals, flip-flops and trainers.

For work situations (especially with patients): women may wear short-sleeved shirts or blouses with a modest, non-revealing neckline. Smart cropped trousers or knee-length shorts and skirts can be worn for work. Vest tops or tops with straps are not acceptable. Men should wear a shirt or polo shirt with smart shorts or trousers.  Nurses and midwives should bring a uniform – whites for nurses, scrubs for midwives.

For church and formal occasions: women should wear a below-knee skirt or dress, and men should wear trousers and a shirt or polo shirt.  For other formal occasions, or visits to villages, it may be appropriate for women to wear a lamba (a Madagascan sarong) which can be borrowed or bought easily in Mandritsara.

It is advisable not to wear expensive jewelery here in Madagascar.  Men should not wear jewelery other than a wedding ring.

It can get down to freezing between June and August in Tana at night so you will need warm clothes if passing through at this time of the year and especially if travelling to/from Mandritsara by road.  A light fleece / jumper will be enough for the mornings and evenings in Mandritsara during these months.

Bring a waterproof if you are going to be here during the rainy season (Dec-Mar) or if you are planning a trip to the rain forest.

Please aim for modesty at all times.

Malaria prophylaxis and vaccinations

We recommend you take anti-malaria tablets (chemoprophylaxis).  Discuss the options with your GP/practice nurse.  Make sure you complete the course once back in your own country.  Doxycycline, Proguanil and Chloroquine are available to buy at the hospital.  Doxycycline is very cheap so you may only want to bring enough for the first couple of weeks and then buy the rest here.

Please note that mosquito nets are provided in all accommodation

We recommend that you are up-to-date with the following vaccinations before coming:

Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, BCG, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid and Rabies.

Contact lenses wearers

Contact lens wear can be problematic here, especially in the dry season due to the dust. We would suggest you wear glasses to avoid these problems.  However, if you would like to wear contact lenses, then we would recommend daily disposables to minimise the risk of infection.

Pre-departure   —   Financial considerations

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