Most volunteers stay in contact with their friends and families via regular mail. Hey, it might be the 21st century, but it still works well! Letters being sent from the States to Malawi via airmail can take anywhere from 7 days to 3 months to arrive (the average is 1 month). Letters from Malawi to the US usually take a much shorter time; expect a week to two months for the letter to arrive. Surface mail, through cheaper, can take as long as six months.
Be careful with what is sent in the envelope. Many volunteers have reported that they suspect their envelope was opened-perhaps in the hopes of finding money. Many volunteers prefer to have their letters and packages sent to Peace Corps Malawi Headquarters in Lilongwe because their local post offices are not as reliable. This is the same address that trainees use for the first two or three months of training. That address is:
P.O. Box 208
Lilongwe , Malawi , Central Africa
Many volunteers receive packages from family and friends throughout their service in Malawi . Unfortunately, sending a package to a volunteer does not always mean that it will get to the volunteer intact, or sometimes even at all. Malawi 's postal system and the surface and airmail systems to Africa have been known to render packages opened or altogether lost. Many volunteers report that it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months to receive a package from the United States ! Sending packages from Malawi to the United States is possible and not too expensive. Of course, the same problems of package tampering apply.
- Don't send cash in the mail, as it could be easily stolen
- Non-perishable foods are great (e.g. "just add water" mixes, powdered drink mixes, etc.)
- New music is a treat! Mixed cassette tapes are a favorite.
- Write "female" or "religious" products on the outside, not "books" or "candy."
As to many countries, wire transfer remains the best way to send money to a person in Malawi , but you may be surprised to learn that many banks can cash a personal check. Check with the Malawian bank with whom you will be doing business for specific requirements.
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