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Author Topic: Bringing Instruments to Malawi? (Luggage Advice)  (Read 1325 times)

Offline cmrn631

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Bringing Instruments to Malawi? (Luggage Advice)
« on: February 26, 2016, 12:26:48 PM »
I'm getting ready to depart for Malawi to serve as a PCV and was wondering if anyone has any experience regarding bringing musical instruments to their country of service? I've read over the Peace Corps luggage requirements and believe my banjo (in it's soft shell case) meets the requirements but am unsure if I would be able to bring it on the plane from staging. What are peoples experiences with bringing instruments (especially stringed ones) and/or obtaining instruments in their countries of service? Thank you! Cheers!

Offline koji

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Re: Bringing Instruments to Malawi? (Luggage Advice)
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2016, 08:48:57 AM »
I was able to pick up a cheap guitar from a PCV who was leaving the country while I was training. It was MUCH better for me than bringing my guitar from the states. However, I am guessing it will be much more difficult to find a PCV leaving behind a banjo. It doesn't hurt to ask, though.  While I didn't have tons of time to play during training, I found the time I did play it was a great way to relieve stress. For that reason, I would not necessarily recommend waiting until you are in country unless you are sure you will be able to find one. You may consider shipping your banjo ahead of you to a currently serving volunteer or the PC office (If they allow it).

I believe 2-3 volunteers in my group brought their guitars with them- soft pack on the plane instead of a carry on (I think, not sure if they paid extra baggage fees for them).

The only advice I have is that if you are carrying an instrument, make sure you pack light with other stuff. Carrying your belongings to your training site, through airports and local transportation, until you eventually get your placement can be exhausting if you have too much stuff. But a quality instrument is IMPORTANT for volunteers that play- it is a great way to connect with host nationals and can help side projects. So getting down to one suitcase and your banjo packed in a hard case for checked luggage or a single checked and a soft case carry on would be ideal.

Offline cmrn631

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Re: Bringing Instruments to Malawi? (Luggage Advice)
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2016, 10:05:43 AM »
Thank you so much! I play guitar as well so we'll see if I can get my hands on one when I arrive otherwise I will have my banjo shipped to me.

Offline Jeff

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Re: Bringing Instruments to Malawi? (Luggage Advice)
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2016, 12:57:51 AM »
Obviously someone from Malawi could answer about availability better, but just to back up the other comment - lots of opportunities to buy instruments in country.  We had a few in West Africa when I was there buy guitars.

Also, here in Eastern Europe now, there are lots of places to buy instruments.  In fact, there's a guitar shop almost literally across from my homestay.

We did have a couple people bring smaller stringed instruments, so it is possible, but I would suggest saving that room and getting it in country if you can.
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17