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Jen's Peace Corps Adventures in Togo
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Jen's Address & Care Package Wish-List
Jen's Address & Care Package Wish-List

So,  I happened to be in the main Peace Corps office in Lome when our Country Director had scheduled a meeting with the post office officials to figure out what the deal is with missing packages and "random" taxes we have to pay.  It seems a little less random now, and here's a summary of helpful hints for you if you want to send anything my way...
 
The USPS has a little green sticker for customs or a larger multiple copy white form.  USE THE GREEN ONE!! For the list of contents, just write educational materials, or religious materials, or personal items with a couple of dollars as the value - regardless of what is really in there (yes, this is ok to do).  Specifically itemized things temps any of the number of various postal workers worldwide who handle it in transit to Africa to "borrow" the package.  If the package is 5 pounds or less and has the green sticker I hardly get charged anything at all to receive it.  Heavier envelopes or boxes get more taxes.  Even if it's under 5lbs, I get higher taxes if you use the white form - and this does absolutely nothing to assure that I'll receive the package any quicker.  If anything of value needs to be sent, there is some kind of registered mail available, but if you don't keep the tracking number they can't do anything when I tell my director that the package is missing. 
 
If it's just a letter you're sending, you can try my local address:
Jennifer Samnick
Mini-poste
Kougnohou, Togo
West Africa
 
Anything else, please send it through the following address (Badou has a full-sized post office) just in case the Togolese gov't decides it's worthy of a tax (the mini-poste can't handle taxable packages, or so I've been told).  And please, use the GREEN customs form, not the white one!
Jennifer Samnick
Corps de la Paix
BP 98
Badou, Togo
West Africa
 
The Lomé address I used to have listed here will continue to fwd mail to me, but I prefer if you use the Badou and Kougnohou addresses instead.
 
Care packages are always welcome! (FYI, padded envelopes are better than boxes.) I'd love to get a mix CD of your favorite music or new stuff on the radio that I'm missing.  Other Togo volunteers have told me that non-chocolate candy (M&Ms are ok though - melt in your mouth, but not...in the mail?), powdered cheese sauces, and Kool-Aid-types of drink mix are also great!
 
PLEASE INCLUDE A PACKING LIST IF YOU SEND ME ANYTHING - I hear that my packages may arrive opened in seach of cash and I'd like to know if I end up with things missing (hopefully not!) 
 
Here's an updated "wish list" of suggestions for care packages:
  • Chocolate :)
  • Anything from Trader Joe's
  • Sourdough pretzel nuggets
  • Dried cranberries and or raisins
  • "extra" Honey and Sugar in the Raw packets you've gotten from Starbucks or where ever you might see 'em (pls ziplock the honey!)
  • Parmesan cheese (the really processed kind that doesn't need a fridge - can be put into a small ziplock bag to make it easier - I'm planning to grow basil and want to make pesto, another volunteer gave me this idea)
  • Raid the office kitchen for ketchup, hot sauce, soy sauce, taco bell hot sauce packets, chopsticks
  • clip and mail me articles from newspapers or stuff from magazines
  • dried broccoli and mushrooms for those of you with food dehydrators
  • toss an empty ziplock bag or two in with a letter
  • clip pages from catalogs of summer clothes like skirts, dresses, tops, etc so I can have them copied with local fabric
  • Ikea or other furniture catalog pages (carpenters can copy furniture pics!)
  • incense
  • Altoids
  • candles (only long tapered ones seem to be available here - maybe some scented tea lights?)
  • mixed CDs or copies of CDs
  • anything to hang on my walls (photos, posters, etc) that reminds me of home
  • fun plastic-coated stickers to add onto my Nalgene water bottles
  • seasoning packets for taco mix, chili, italian seasoning, ranch dressing powder, Thai food, sazon, etc (or any kind of random spices in baggies that you might buy in a bulk section of a natural foods store) (I've got seeds to grow basil and cilantro already, ginger is abundant here, and Togo seems to already import a heck of a lot of Maggi cubes.)
  • Chai tea instant mix or teabags
  • M&Ms and other candy, gummy stuff doesn't melt
  • Any recipes you have that involve bananas
  • NY Times Sunday magazine
  • Any magazines that don't talk about war (think entertainment, fashion, etc)
 
But really, I'm most looking forward to getting letters and photos from you!! 
 
If you can't remember back to pre-email days, type me an email and then hit "print" instead of "send" and toss it in an envelope!
 
Thanks!!

Jennifer Samnick
Corps de la Paix
B.P. 98
Badou, Togo
West Africa

jsamnick@u.washington.edu

POSTAGE INFO:  The postage rate increase does not change the international rate - it's still going to be $0.80 for a regular letter.

Below I've pasted in the basics, but click here (USPS website) for further info on international postage rates to Togo from the US.

Airmailing a letter to Togo costs $0.80.  Max. length 24", Max. length, height, depth combined 36"
 
I've been told that postcards should be sent in an envelope or "they might end up on the wall of the local post office". 
 
Non-letters may require some customs form or another.  I've been told by past volunteers that "religious materials" and "books" are fairly boring and are the best bet to get things through without being tampered with ;)  NEW INFO I just got is that "educational materials" or "cadeax" (gifts) are also a good way to mark packages.

Custom Forms Information

International mail is subject to customs examination in the destination country. The contents and value of an item must be declared on the applicable customs form.

USPS Customs Declaration Forms

  • PS Form 2976, Customs - CN 22 and Senders Declaration, is a single green label with a white form attached.
  • PS Form 2976-A, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note CP 72, is a white four-part form.
  • PS Form 2976-E, Customs Declaration Envelope CP 91, is an adhesive backed plastic envelope that is used to contain PS Form 2976-A when mailing parcel post packages.

Note: The customs forms referenced above can be obtained at your local post office. At present, they cannot be accessed via this USPS web site (http://pe.usps.gov).

Place of Mailing
Except as specified below, postal items that require a completed customs declaration form may not be deposited into a street collection box or a post office lobby drop. Such items must be tendered to a USPS employee at a post office or other location as designated by the postmaster. Otherwise, they will be returned to the sender for proper entry and acceptance.