majorhavoc wrote:I've spent some time in East Africa and I never had any trouble with being seen as an "evil white man". Africa is a big continent of course, and there's nefarious types anywhere you go in the world. But the bad shit that happens in Africa gets all the media attention. Without exception, anyone from anywhere in Africa that I've ever met has impressed me by being an incredibly forthright, gregarious, sincerely friendly person. There's an old Samburu saying that goes: when you travel, the only thing you really need to pack is the smile on your face. I've found that sentiment pretty much describes the life outlook of every African I've known.
When in the continent and doing work for Lutheran World Relief, everyone I interacted with was genuinely grateful that I was there to help.
Now having said that, there are always going to be criminal elements, especially where there is great disparity in wealth. For me it was more an issue in urban areas (Nairobi, Mombasa, Cairo) than anywhere in the bush.
With the limited budget you have, I honestly would put most of that money into a really, really good fixed blade knife and a good FAK. Because bug out or not, he'll use those two items.
Everything I encountered in Africa; the wildlife, the weather, the terrain, the insects, even the plants, is bigger, tougher and meaner that the worst you'd typically find in North America or Europe. So don't pussyfoot around with a little knife, even a quality folder. Just a stout, beefy blade that can be used to chop wood, cut through branches, pry open a crate or carve out a three inch acacia thorn or nest of chiggers buried in the sole of your foot. And, if need be, possibly intimidate a human adversary who, more likely than not will be armed with a machete and knows how to use it.
As far as the FAK, you definitely want to include some antihistamine tablets and gel. If he gets stung or bit by something, even if it isn't venomous, it will likely trigger a reaction.
I would tend to mostly agree with this from my experiences. I have been to Africa twice to include living there for @70 days in Liberia. I think you are off to a good start. You may want to consider a good rain poncho or jacket in lieu of or in addition to your tarp. If he is going to be in a more urban environment, a light rain shell may be better. I don't know if you are going to get as far as you want with $150 but you can always add to a kit and send him a few things as they come along. Also, I don't believe "Desert Environment" would be a good descriptor of the overall terrain.
The water purification system is an excellent idea. You, or he, needs to add as much cash as you can. Cash is king. Each country is different but it is my experience in many of the poorer countries around the world, you can use U.S. Scoots to buy just about anything. For example, I recall there are several "internet cafes" where you can buy a few minutes of internet time. This is a great resource to communicate or check the news.
Good socks, combined with good shoes is a life saver as you will do loads of walking.
A good Petzl head lamp may be nice. You probably won't see lots of street lights or well lit highways around there. A good headlamp draws attention to you also so it has a downside as well.
Cold steel makes an 18" blade machete that may not be what you are looking for. I think you could mostly conceal one in a decent sized backpack (definitely not small like you are hoping). This too is outside of your idea so I am just pointing it out for a reference. Personally, I am not a big fan of the USAF survival knife but I am sure others will be.
I know you are wanting to keep it "lite" but there are so many things I would WANT to have that I personally don't think I could do it.
There are things you can do for free/cheap such as laminate a card with the phone numbers/addresses of the Embassy in Ghana and the ones "next door". You/he should make a photocopy of his passport as well in case his gets lost or stolen. Maps are a great idea. You can make some E&E maps and laminate them for durability.
One of the things you can't buy for your brother is situational awareness and cultural sensitivity. I would suggest buying a good travel book on the country and its culture and learning as much as he can before you go.