What to Bring to Yemen

Unfortunately, no one can truly answer this question for another person. An acquaintance of mine was asked by someone what to bring to Egypt. She gave her advice and said that the sister got mad at her when she got there because of her advice. So she stopped giving advice.

What is not important to one person, maybe be of extreme necessity to someone else. So take my suggestions/tips with a grain of salt and while reading them, evaluate them for YOURSELF.

My Golden Rules:

  1. Take what is essential and what you feel you would need to feel comfortable/get by when you first get here. If you’ll have the cash, you can purchase most of what you need/want when you get here, but if you get here at night, for example, you’ll want to have the essentials on hand to make it through the first few nights.
  2. Pack as lightly as possible. I suggest sticking to suitcases, especially those with wheels. When we went to Egypt, we had large, heavy Rubbermaid (ok, Walmart sterilite brand) tubs and they were a logistical nightmare.

So, What to Bring?

Again, what is important for one, may not be important for someone else. When we went to Egypt, I brought all my homeschooling books, which I don’t regret. My co wife, whose children were young, so books were not a priority for her, chose to bring more of her kitchenware. Below I will mention the availability of some items to hopefully help someone in their decision making process, but again, these are MY opinions and observations.

As I said earlier, you can probably buy most of what you need when you get here, if you’ll have the cash. However, sometimes it is a matter of finding things. Something I found right away, others I am just now finding after almost four years here, it will depend on where you go.

Dishes

I suggest maybe bringing a basic frying pan, saucepan, pot for boiling rice, pasta, etc. You can get these here, but you may need them right away. Maybe a few utensils, stuff that you would need right away.

City Mart, Shumaila Hari, and Huda have loads of dishware. Unless you are a gourmet cook, I feel that you can probably get the majority of what you need either in these stores and even stores on the street.

They have frying pans, muffin pans, cake pans, saucepans, teapots, utensils, graters, egg slicers (smile) etc, etc, etc. And these stores sell major appliances: blenders, food processors, French fry machines, waffle irons, microwaves, juicers, etc.

Food

I don’t suggest bringing food, I have found pretty much of what I want here. Again, sticking with the bigger stores will net you more American products (but I am not saying ALL your favorites). I have found taco shells at City Mart and Shumaila Hari (though they are easier to find at Shumaila Hari). And you will have to keep your eyes peeled. Sometimes they stock stuff in places that are unusual to us as westerners. At City Mart, the taco shells were with the cookies and crackers one time.

They have a pretty good selection of frozen foods as well in the bigger stores. Produce is usually good from these stores, but you can also purchase it from street vendors or stores on the street.

Hair Care/Body Care

I am not so particular when it comes to hair care products, but I know some people are. I see a lot of American brands here of shampoos, conditioners, etc, but not all the ones as in the states. They sell relaxers for adults and children here, they sell Herbal Essences brands products, for example. You might bring some products with you if this is an important area for you.

Same with body products, you’ll find a lot of major brands in lotions, face creams, etc. but if you are more particular, then keep that in mind.

Furniture

Kind of negated in the “pack lightly” golden rule. You can buy furniture here Middle Eastern as well as Western style: couches, tables, chairs, bookcases, bunk beds, etc.

Clothes

Of course bring them, but you can buy them here as well. City Max (on Shariah Sitteen) is a huge clothing store with a wide selection of clothes, including hijabs for women. The quality is probably not as good as walmart, but it’s a favorite for us as we have a large family and the prices are reasonable. There are smaller clothing stores all over the place and then there is Suq Libee (Sana’a Trade Center or also called Markaz Libee). This is a mall, so if you have expensive taste in clothes, this might fit the bill and I am sure there are other high class clothing stores as well.

For Muslim women’s clothing, try City Max or Shariah Hiyal (Hiyal Street, also known as Shariah An Nisa –women’s street). I just came across a store on Hadda, just a block or two south of Zubairy Street that seemed to have a wide selection of hijabs for little girls, I think it was called Jawarah Sawdah or something like that (Black gem/jewel, I think). There are clothing stores for hijabs all over though.

Bedding/Sheets

I suggest bringing some sheets or blankets (economizing –having people double up) for when you first get here, but you should have no problem finding these items at the bigger stores or even smaller ones. They have the warmest, plushesh blankets here (and in Egypt) that I have ever had. If you are over in the 22 Mayo/Madinatul Asbahi area (near Taiz Street), there is a neat home/kitchen store on Shariah Arbi’een, as well as stores where you can get pillows and other bedding.

School Supplies/Office Supplies

My opinion, don’t bother bringing these. I think I have pretty much found 95% of what I want/need between the small local maktabahs and mega stores like Al Jeel Al Jadeed on the Diary (two locations). Sometimes I have trouble finding 3 ring binders, they sell a lot of 2 and 4 ring binders, but I have found three ring ones.

Print Cartridges. You may want to bring some to get your started if you have other than HP. I see HP, but can’t remember if I have seen other brands. They run about $20 -$25 dollars, but you can get them refilled for about $5.

For computer supplies, you’ll want to check Shariah Sakhr/Shariah Mogadishu/Shariah Computer—three name/all the same street and its off of the Diary. They don’t call it Shariah Computer for nothing. You can get laptops, desktops, keyboards, printers, mice, etc, etc. etc. We brought our desktop computer when we came to Egypt, but the less stuff you bring, the better. I would probably bring a laptop myself, if I already had one.

____

That’s everything that comes to mind at the present. If you have a question about something not listed, you can email me, insha Allah.

Bottom line: It’s good to get advice, but keep your own self in mind and know what you can handle and what you can’t do without.

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