Every time we travel outside Nigeria we always wonder what to bring back, as we don’t have the shipping perk like other expats and hate traveling with a lot of luggage. Luckily for us more and more stores are carrying our favorite brands if not decent alternatives: Huggies, Bounce, Tide, Ziploc, Cheerios. Our colleagues brought kilos of laundry detergent in Ziploc bags. Sometimes it became an issue of paying more for what is sometimes past their “Sell By” date, or doing without perishable items: $8 for a bag of Tostitos anyone?
We are starting our fourth year in Lagos, Nigeria and our son just started pre-k at AISL. After reviewing the list of school supplies I consulted other moms, they still recommended maxing on our baggage allowance to save ourselves money and trouble of finding specific items. So yeah, I brought non-toxic Crayolas, Elmer’s Glue sticks, party favors for his birthday, costume for Halloween, books for his reading level, educational toys, shoes, uniforms (the shirt is almost $20 in Lagos).
Outside of school merchandise are there other things we bring or wished we could bring? Of course, clothes, footwear, sports gear (tennis racket and swimming goggles), towels, hypoallergenic pillows, sheets, medicines, and lots of scented candles. I wish we brought Miracle-Gro. Other than these we’re quite happy with what’s available in Lagos.
Thanks to the large Indian and Lebanese community here, you don’t have to worry about Asian products and spices. Yes, we can get flat bread (chapatti), noodles, soy sauce, fish sauce, chutney, thyme, curry ingredients, yoghurt, and beans at any grocery store. What is expensive or hard to find are sour cream, parmesan cheese, and tofu. But give them time and they will be as widely available as pasta and olive oil.