What to Take on a Mission Trip

So you plan on going on a medical mission trip? That truly is great, but you need to be prepared. In my last post you saw all the medical supplies that we are taking over. Below is a description of personal items I think are essential and helpful to have on the mission:

1. Old Spice High Endurance: If you are a real man, you will buy and use Old Spice…period. :). On a real note, just make sure that you bring deodorant because you will sweat and air conditioning is not common in the rural areas.

2. Antibacterial wipes: Most of the foreign missions I have been on have taken me into areas where there was no running water, so a bath was out of the question. Although where I am going for this mission will have showers, I still take these wipes with me in case I need them. They can fit in a bookbag nicely if you take each roll of wipes out of the container, put them in a gallon ziplock bag, and then sit on the bag (while you are closing it) to create a vacuum seal.

3. Toothpaste, toothbrush, and toothbrush case: There is nothing worse than bad breath. Bring a toothbrush case to cut down on your toothbrush’s exposure to germs (of course this means that you will have to clean the case too).

4. Germ-X: This stuff is truly a life saver when you are on overseas missions. People are very friendly in Africa and you will shake many hands. Before you eat, and after every physical encounter, you should clean your hands with Germ-X, especially if you are not near running water. If you want explosive diarrhea, then leave the Germ-X at home.

5. Tide packets: If you are going into the rural areas of Africa, chances are that you will not have a washer and dryer, let along electricity. So it is time to learn how to handwash your clothes, and these packets can help you do that. In reality, when we go overseas, we usually pay one of the local ladies to wash our clothes, but they will not wash your underwear, so these tide packets are for you and your underwear washing.

6. Soft 2-ply toilet tissue: You may think it is stupid to bring toilet paper because they definitely have toilet paper in Africa. This is partly true; they have toilet paper but every roll that I have sampled in Zambia and Zimbabwe has been like 0.3 ply toilet paper. Wiping your hand with such thin and coarse toilet paper makes the thought of just using your hand much more appeasing. Trust me, your anus will thank me…bring toilet paper.

7. Feminine Wipes: The antibacterial wipes in the picture above aren’t always kind to the female genitalia. That is why it is good for girls to buy these wipes; guys will be fine with just the antibacterial wipes.

8. Body Wash & Luffa: Usually when I go on missions, there is no running water, so we just use the antibacterial wipes. Since we will be staying in the guest house of the hospital we will actually have running water, so I decided to bring some cleansing supplies.

9. 110 to 220 Voltage Converter: If you plan on using and charging your cell phone, your laptop, your camcorder, your camera, your blowdryer, etc., then you need this converter. The voltages used in America (110V) differ from the voltages that are used in most of the world (220V), so if you don’t want to fry your American electronics, then buy this converter.

10. Batteries: Is always good to bring quality batteries for your camera so that you can take tons of pictures.

11. Pen Light: You will need this to check your patient’s pupillary constriction, as well as other eye findings.

12. Tape Measure: If you are measuring a patients jugular venous pressure (JVP) having a tape measure if helpful, or if you are measuring a lesion on the skin it is important to have.

13. Reflex hammer: You can test alot of stuff with a reflex hammer and it is good to have one to do a good reflex exam. You can diagnose an upper motor neuron lesion just with a reflex hammer (lol, well kinda).

14. Tuning fork: You can use these things to tests a patients hearing and also their vibration sensation. I’m sure it can be used for other things but that is all I learned.

15. Otoscope and plastic covers: You can use this to look into a patient’s ear.

16. Panoptic and Direct Ophthalmoscope: You can diagnose a butt load of diseases by looking at a patient’s retina with these tools. I personally can’t use the panoptic scope (the huge eye piece that looks like it belongs on a sniper rifle), but I bring it anyway. The great thing about this handle for my ophthalmoscope and otoscope is that the top twists off and I can plug it into a wall and charge it. If you are going a mission trip into a foreign area, I would recommend a hand piece like this.

17. Stethoscope: Yeah, you’ll need this.

18. Blood Pressure Cuff and pump: Yeah, you’ll need this. I only took a picture of one size cuff, but you should bring enough cuffs to fit all sizes.

19. Travel Wallet for Passport, Cash, and Credit Cards: I can’t express how important it is to buy something like this. You basically can put your passport, credit cards, cash, etc. into this wallet and then hang it around your neck, making sure that it is under your shirt. May people think it is safe to just wear a fannie/waist pack or carry everything in their book bag but this is not true. There have been many tales of travelers who were walking down a busy street and someone cuts the strap of their fannie pack from behind and runs off with their valuables. They can do the same with your bookbag, especially if you wear the bookbag with only one strap over your shoulder. So yeah, having it around your neck it much safer, and it doesn’t scream, “Look and me, I’m a foreigner”

20. Watch: It is always good to have a watch, especially in the rural areas of Africa. Make sure that this watch is water resistant and that it can be change to military time, because that is what they use in most countries in Africa and the rest of the world.

21. Camcorder and blank tapes: You simply have to capture your experience when you go on a mission trip.

22. 2 GB SD card: You want alot of space so that you can take alot of still shot pictures.

23. L.E.D. Head Lamp: First of all, it is always good to bring a flashlight. Make sure the flashlight is an L.E.D. flashlight. These flash lights last for much longer on a single battery and the light is brighter. I choose the headlamp so that we can have our hands free and still see at the same time. It would also be useful if the generator in the hospital goes out and we need light to continue operating.

24. Sleeping bag: You never know where you will stop off at while traveling in Africa. Its always good to have a sleeping bag so that you can crash and sleep if you need to.

25. Big bookbag: Youll need this to store your clothes and snacks for the 30 hour flight to Africa.

26. White Coat: My wife and our classmate don’t plan on bringing their white coats, but I always like to have mine on.

27. Scrubs: If you will be assisting in surgeries it is good to have scrubs. I plan to basically wear scrubs for my whole time in the hospital.

28. Indiana Jones type hat: A real missionary man buys a hat like this :). Honestly though, chances are that you will be in the sun alot. Buying a hat with a nice brim that shields your head and neck is important. Getting a melanoma is no joke.

29. Ciprofloxacin: If you ever get an bout of explosive diarrhea, it is a good idea to have some Cipro on hand. It will hopefully take care of the bug that is bugging you.

30. Mefloquine Hydrochloride: If you have the sickle cell trait like me, you are slightly resistant to malaria, but if you don’t have the trait, you need these pills so that you won’t get malaria.

31. Bible: What is a mission without your Word? It can be easy to get caught up in the “doing good” and to forget to spend that quality time with God. Make sure that you keep Christ in the forefront of your mind as you go on your mission.

So that concludes my mission prep list. We are leaving for Africa on Monday, so this will be my last post until we come back, so take care!!!

6 Responses to What to Take on a Mission Trip

  1. Jeff W says:

    Hey DoctaJay! Good luck on the mission trip! looks like you’ve got the supplies all lined up. God bless.

  2. reese says:

    Good luck on your mission. God bless

  3. Jeffrey Leow says:

    hi jay.

    hope everything is going on just fine over there. have a blessed time fulfilling the Great Commission.

  4. DoctaJay says:

    Thank you very much Dr. Leow. Your blog looks intresting. I’m going to start checking it out when I get back to the states.

  5. Thank you for such a complete list of things. Your list has helped me to prepare for a trip to Sierra Leone!

  6. CropSnoraBata says:

    Hi all!

    As a fresh doctajay.com user i only want to say hello to everyone else who uses this forum B-)

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