makethislast

Stay in Touch, Wish List, Care Packages

Contact Info:

My permanent mailing address:

[insert my first and last names]
BP 1388
Essaouira 44100
Morocco

Cell:

From US, dial:  011 +212 + 667551969

Email and Internet:

I have irregular/sporadic internet access from my house. I check my email every few days.

Wish List:

  • Letters, pictures, postcards, and emails

Send me a message, however brief, I want to hear from you. Keep me posted on your life, things in America, current events around the world, etc.

How to ship packages to PCVs (information borrowed from/sharing with any and all PCVs):

(1) Use the USPS Flat Rate Boxes. This will keep shipping costs to less than half what they’d otherwise be. International shipping is hideously expensive, but at least the US Postal Service is trying to help. I’ve had more than one care package whose shipping costs were several times the value of the items inside, and that made me feel really bad for the shipper.

(Note: they’re only “Flat Rate” up to 20 pounds, for international shipping. That said, it’s really hard to fit 20 pounds worth of anything into a package about the size of two shoeboxes, unless you’re shipping rock samples or free weights. Completely stuff the boxes. You’re paying for the volume, not the mass. Also, the less free space there is, the less your contents will shift (and risk breaking) during shipping).

(2) You’ll need to fill out the package label with my (or your PCV’s) name, address, etc. Complete the space for “Detailed Description of Contents” too. If the box has lots of different things, you don’t need to enumerate every single item. Don’t put more items than there are lines for.

(3) Don’t list any individual item as having more than $10 in value otherwise your Volunteer will have to pay a customs fee to pick up the package. If items are obviously worth more than that, write “used” in the description section (ex: “used sweater”, “books, used”) and make sure it’s not in any of the original packaging. Also, avoid words that imply value to the unscrupulous, like “camera” or “computer”. You want your PCV to receive the package.

(4) Check the box that says GIFT, which is actually true for most care packages, anyway. Gifts are assessed fees much less often than anything the customs officials suspect you mail-ordered.

(5) Double-bag anything powdery. Sending hot cocoa packets? Cake mix? Instant coffee? Astronaut ice cream? Add an extra ziplock bag around the item’s own packaging. Nearly every time I’ve received anything like the above, at least one of the packages had been cut into, I assume in order to check for drugs. (Do people actually smuggle cocaine by putting it in a Betty Crocker box?) The customs folks are good about rewrapping and retaping the contents of the box, but if there’s no extra ziplock, the cut item will scatter its remaining powdery mess all over the contents of the care package. (Until we figured this out, nearly every care package I got from my parents had cocoa powder sprinkled everywhere.) Besides, ziplock bags are handy; your PCV will appreciate having them.

The point of the fees, as far as I can tell, is to deter the practice (formerly common) of folks importing goods and reselling them for a profit. Customs officials calculate that if they can double the price of whatever you’re getting – by charging you an import fee equal to the item’s value – it will take a huge chunk out of any potential profit margin. But when you’re living on 2,000 dirhams (or $225) a month, it hurts to have to pay for your care packages.

On behalf of whoever you’re planning to ship to: Thank you so much! 😀

3 Responses

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  1. Jack Hill said, on May 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I work for an engieering company that supports OCP, we are located in Tampa. We go to Safi at least 4 times a year. We were in Safi last month and took a weekend trip to Essaouira, it was nice.

    I will be traveling back to Safi in July, if there is anything from the USA let me know and I’ll try and bring it for you.

    Jack

    • nauticalgal said, on June 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      Hey Jack,

      Thanks for the note! I just returned to Morocco from my trip to America so I was able to bring a few treats back with me to Essaouira. If you do find your way to Essa again, I’d be happy to meet up for coffee/tea. By the way, if you’re interested in Moroccan souvenirs, there will be a Peace Corps Volunteer-organized craft fair on July 7-10.

      If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at yan.diana@gmail.com.

      Best,
      D

  2. Tara said, on April 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Diana! So great to hear that you love your placement. I can’t wait to come visit you…(in a year). When are you moving to your new placement/if I send you a letter will you get it before you move? Glad to hear all is well.


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