What to Bring
A. WORK CLOTHES, ETC:
Please note that military surplus clothing is not acceptable. We do not want to be associated with the military, either ours or theirs, in any way. Wash is done on washboards and/or rocks, and so clothing wears out more quickly than we are accustomed to. Please, please, please--mark all clothing, especially socks and underwear. A good way to mark socks is just a tuft of yarn tied on the edge; writing on the sole of the foot lasts about a week.
1. Pants: 3 pairs minimally, 4-5 handy, especially if the rains are heavy, in which case clothing gets very dirty and doesn't dry well; some prefer jeans, others medium weight work pants, easily found at places like K-Mart. The more cotton, in a blended fabric, the better.
2. Shirts: Most should have long sleeves against the sun; we recommend 6 or more. Many students who thought they didn't need sun protection wound up buying long sleeved shirts there. Light colors, especially white, are the most comfortable.
3. Boots: Sturdy, comfortable, well-broken-in work boots or light hiking boots. You may want water-proofing for boots--goop, mink oil, etc. Since you are on your feet a lot, even good sneakers are not always comfortable. If you prefer sneakers/walking shoes, bring 2 pairs-changing off helps the feet
4. For archaeology students, another pair of shoes for working: old, but sturdy sneakers or running shoes, or a second pair of boots, something you wouldn't mind having messed up by mud.
5. Socks, underwear: We recommend a) wicking/quick dry fiber combinations for socks, b) sturdy, or old enough to be abandoned at the end of the season, and c) 10 days' worth or more. Honduran laundry women have a mania about getting socks blindingly white so they will be very thoroughly washed if you bring white socks; ditto for white underwear. Women: Do not bring lacy undies, especially bras, unless you want to waste your precious time doing your own laundry, or have your stuff methodically stolen from the lines. Women should not plan to wear men's boxer shorts and/or boxer-style shorts as outer garments outside the house--they are now recognized as underwear by local residents and wearing them in public is regarded as scandalous behavior.
6. Hat: Essential for sun protection; a big brim is best; straw hats costing $3-8 are usually readily available there unless you have a very large head.
7. Rain poncho: Big enough to cover a back pack; a folding umbrella is nice for in town.
8. Bandannas: Useful for many things.
9. Work clothes for cultural students should be equivalent to nice "wearing-to-the-city" outfits. Skirts/dresses are best for women, good slacks and collared shirts for men.
B. LEISURE CLOTHING:
1. For in the city (meeting officials, and possible public lectures, or social events) at least two "nice" outfits, i.e., a very nice shirt and good slacks for men (a coat and tie are probably not necessary, but look good going through customs); a local shirt, called a guayabera-you may have seen them in the south--is a substitute for a coat and tie and may be gotten there; good, but packable dresses or skirts and tops for women; decent shoes/sandals.
2. At home in Pueblo Nuevo and for lab work days: work clothes, sun dresses for women (modestly cut), slacks and tops, sandals, sweatshirt or sweater (yes, believe it or not: some days and nights in Jan. and Feb. are cool). Long shorts are minimally acceptable street wear for men. Women can wear shorts in the house, but it is not a good idea to wear short shorts around town, although city shorts (knee-length long shorts) were okay in previous years. No one can be seen outside the house in boxer-style shorts!! Halter tops and tube tops are not acceptable, nor are spaghetti-strap tanks: a modest tank top is about as bare as is acceptable. Even then, it's a good idea to pair it with a long-sleeved, botton-front shirt when going outside the house (provides additional sun protection, too). So, no spaghetti-strap tanks and women must always wear a bra. Women from previous years have found dresses and jumpers, followed by skirts and tops, the most comfortable, and a nice change from work clothes. Having clothes made is very inexpensive for women, and many have had favorite jumpers, blouses etc., copied by local seamstresses for only a few bucks. Men's shirts are also easily copied.
3. Sleepwear, and a light robe or caftan--since we'll be living in close proximity.
4. Shoes, flipflops, and/or sandals: You should never go barefoot, even between bed and the bathroom. Flipflops are generally available there, and should be worn in the shower.
Further notes on clothing and personal adornment: Pueblo Nuevo is a conservative town. If you have a tatoo, be prepared to cover it at work and on the street for at least 2 months, even if that means wearing a bandage: tatoos on men are symbols of gang membership, while on women, they mean that you are a gang hanger-on, or a prostitute. If you have body piercings, you may have to go without jewelry in public and at work until people know you better. The only really acceptable piercings are 1-2 in the earlobes. As for jewelry, do not wear gold necklaces at any time, and if you don't have allergy problems, use silver earrings: necklaces have been snatched in the city, and gold attracts too much attention. Leave your gold finger rings in the states, especially if they have gem stones.C. OTHER PERSONAL ITEMS:
1. If you take a prescription drug on a regular basis, bring a 5-month supply, and carry personal medicines that you might need for potential problems; don't count on getting anything there, since medicine is imported and availability varies from year to year. Also, bring more than you think you'll need for contact lens care. In 2008 a small bottle of cleaning solution cost $20-35 in Honduras. Glasses wearers may want a spare pair.
2. Shampoo, soap and soap box, other cleaning aids/supplies--a face cleaning liquid that need not be removed with water, especially for those with sensitive skin, is nice because the water supply is sometimes variable. American soaps, shampoos, etc., are available and reasonable in price. Local copies are OK and cheaper. Many folks get folliculitis, an acne-like rash which is really infected hair follicles. Oxy-10 wash or Phisohex is often helpful for this.
3. Sanitary supplies: Napkins of lower quality than are usually found here can be gotten anywhere in Honduras, but tampons are generally imported, and available mostly in the city at a hefty price. Bringing your own is best.
4. Sunblock or sunscreen, or at least a somewhat protective lotion (we recommend a factor 45 or 50), as it is very easy to become literally charred: the importance of a sunblock during the early weeks, even for those who tan easily, cannot be over-emphasized . We wear sunblock every day, all season: skin cancer and leathery skin are occupational hazards for archaeologists.
6. Insect repellent: Ticks can be a major problem. They don't carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but are plentiful and annoying.
7. Sunglasses: Exposure to sun is a major factor in the formation of cataracts, especially for light-eyed people. Protect yourself now, and stave off cataracts.
8. Swim suit: We will definitely make it to a beach. Again, women should bring modestly cut swim suits. While you may be able to get away with wearing a bikini at the beach (if you're willing to put up with ogling and comments), bikinis are NOT acceptable swim, sunning, or any other sort of wear in Pueblo Nuevo. This includes river swimming near home (while one-piece/tank swimsuits worn with shorts are acceptable, most local women who swim do so wearing shorts and a t-shirt).
9. We supply a foam rubber mattress, but you should bring 2 fitted single bed sheets; handwoven top sheets are easily found, cost about $4-5, and are quite comfortable. Reasonably priced sheet sets are also available there, so if you are choosing between books and sheets, bring the books. We also recommend an old mattress pad, as foam can be damp. We supply a shredded foam pillow; if you are particular or sensitive, bring your own pillow.
10. Towels: 2 are essential, 3 better.
11. Sewing kit/assorted patches.
12. Paperbacks, cards, games: English language paperbacks are hard to find and expensive. Bring a wide variety to facilitate trading. After many years of experience, we can warn you against long and difficult books, even "classic" novels-this is not the time to get caught up on Dostoyevsky and Turgenev, or Nietzsche. Time and energy are generally at premiums. Also, if you bring a favorite video or DVD, it will make "Video Night" more fun.
13. Spanish phrase book or grammar. A small dictionary would also be helpful.
14. CD player or MP3 player, preferably with headphones, battery-operated, and music; pessimists will bring a spare--there's little worse than being stuck in silence, watching everyone else plug in! Rechargeable batteries are handy, and a solar recharger may be very handy if electricity is once again rationed.
15. Camera and film for personal photos and slides (official project work will be recorded with project cameras and film); film is available but more expensive than at home. If you bring a digital camera, make sure you have all software and equipment (cables, docks, card-readers, etc.) necessary to download images. You'll also want enough high-output batteries (or a few sets of rechargables and charger) to last the entire season.
16. A tensor lamp or little booklight is nice for reading in bed while not offending your roommates. If the electricity is rationed, a battery operated light will be essential.
17. Extension cord, and 2-prong adaptor (to plug 3-pronged items into 2-prong outlets).
18. A small fan will help you sleep. If you can find a battery-operated one, that would be best in case of electrical problems. We supply one large, oscillating fan for each bedroom.
19. For phone calls, AT&T, MCI and/or Sprint calling cards; prepaid cards can be purchased in Honduras.
20. Pocket money: You will need to bring personal money to pay for sodas and beer, trips to the city for pizza and movies, souvenirs, evenings at the disco, and so forth. Every year people go crazy buying stuff in Guatemala, and you'll be tempted, too. You could get by with $350-400, but $600 would be better if you can manage it. Please bring travelers' checks (American Express is the easiest to change into the local currency); cash is dangerous to have. ATMs are available in San Pedro for emergency cash.
21. A roll-up camp seat, one of those ones with backs, can be helpful in the field. Camping catalogs have several models, one with wood slats, and others cloth over foam.
22. First aid items: anti-itch cream; band-aid; antibiotic cream; aspirin, Advil, Tylenol, etc.
23. Last but hardly least: Your favorite "yummy" for times of desperation.D. EQUIPMENT AND MISCELLANY:
1. Passport--not really equipment, but it has to be somewhere!
2. Research kits. Those who will be pursuing archaeological research will want to bring: 3 diamond-shaped flat Mason's trowels (Marsalltown or Goldblatt brand); a whisk broom; a dust pan; 1 inch and 2 inch paint brushes; a line level; retractable measuring tape with metric units-3 m is ideal; folding rule marked in cm and meters, if possible. Those doing cultural projects should bring a trowel, a whisk broom, and dust pan (as above); several cassettes for a regular tape recorder; and a good Spanish dictionary. If you have a laptop computer that would be nice; but the project has several you can use.
3. Backpack or daybag: This must be comfortable and strong enough to carry equipment and supplies, as well as finds--sherds are heavy! Even those conducting ethnographic studies will need to carry notebooks and tape recorders. If your school pack is pulling at the seams, bring a spare.
4. Pocket knife: Handy at times., but DO NOT pack it in you hand luggage!! It will be confiscated at security, and not returned; ditto for metal fingernail files, scissors of any sort, all-purpose tools, and, nail polish and nail polish remover.
5. Two 1-liter nalgene bottles for carrying purified water. We have also found that larger hydration systems, such as those made by Platypus or Camelback, are good to have when out excavating
6. If you have an old set of curtains or two, bring them along.
7. Your school books should be purchased from the Kenyon Bookstore or on-line. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU BUY THE MOST RECENT EDITION OF THE TEXTBOOKS--it really does make a difference! For non-Kenyon people it is easiest if you or your folks call and pay with a credit card. Books will be shipped to you. Call the Textbooks Department, 740-427-5617. We realize that books may be expensive for some. We will bring a set, and you are welcome to use those, but remember that time is always short in the field and sharing is sometimes a hassle. We highly recommend that you read as many of the books as possible before you leave for Honduras. While some reading time will be provided (especially in the early weeks), it's often challenging to focus while acclimating to a new place. The following books, however must be read before arriving in Honduras: Booth and Walker; Woolcott, Sullivan; Kerns; and Don't be Afraid Gringo.E. OTHER ADVICE:
1. Each of us will almost inevitably have diarrhea at least once, no matter how careful we may be with food and water, so be prepared. Pepto Bismol liquid is an old standby; it works, and so does Immodium (it's a good idea to bring some of each).
2. We will also have colds at some point. Standard cold remedies (e.g., Dristan) are available there, but if you have a favorite, bring it along.
3. Malaria is not common in Pueblo Nuevo. Check with your doctor to see is s/he wishes to prescribe anti-malarial drugs.
4. Your immunizations, especially tetanus, typhus, typhoid, diphtheria, measles, and polio, should be current, and you might want to have them recorded on a World Health or other immunization form. Yellow fever immunization is not necessary, though some physicians recommend it. Cholera is endemic in parts of Central America but we have heard conflicting reports from physicians on the effectiveness of vaccinations. Check with your doctor on this score and on all vaccinations, including the new generation of hepatitis and rabies inoculations.
5. Suitcases and packing: You are unlikely to have more than a couple of feet of shelf space for storage, so plan to live out of your suitcase. End-opening army duffles, while sturdy, make it hard to access things, but zipper duffles are good, as are suitcases. Trunks aren't really necessary, but could be handy as end tables. Airlines are being very strict about overweight items and hand luggage: Check with them if you have any questions.
6. There are marvelous opportunities for diving, or just lounging on the beach in the Bay Islands. Trips of this sort are fairly reasonable in cost, but you should plan ahead--leave time, and bring money. We have a 1 week break beginning March 8th. It is possible to wire funds to Honduras, but Travelers' checks are your best bet for carrying money.
7. It is often difficult to accommodate visitors while we are working in the field. The best time for people to visit is during Spring break (March 8-16, 2012). If your relatives wish to visit, let us know as soon as possible so we can work out mutually agreeable times; still, Spring break would be the best time. If your family and friends want to see the project actually at work, a few days before or after break are best.