Travel back in time with me to 2002. To a Walmart in Marietta, Georgia, at about 11pm on a Saturday night. A man is choosing between the Gillette shaving cream and the store brand. In the same aisle, a mother and 20-something daughter are having an animated discussion about how much deodorant a person uses in a year. The mother sees the man listening in and, realizing that the conversation is a bit odd, laughs and explains: “My daughter is moving to Africa for two years, so we’re stocking up on stuff for her to take with her.”
The daughter was me. And the mother was, well, Mom.
Now, eight years later, I’m headed to Walmart to ask the same questions all over again.
So help me out… If an American moves to Senegal, which items should she stock up on and ship over? What if she’s lived in France for six years, so has gotten used to European brands of hair products but still prefers American lip gloss and scented candles? What if her husband is a super minimalist who would be happy with a bar of soap and a bucket of water? Oh, and what is the formula for figuring out how much deodorant and sunblock you use in two years?
PS. We met a guy from the Gambia while at Walmart. (They speak Wolof in the Gambia, so we were blabbing away in the aisle.) I pointed to our very full cart and explained that this is what toubabs buy for moving to Africa. It was awesome.