Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Late Night

I want to apologize for the gap in posts (again). These past few weeks have been a blur. We have been packing, sorting, dividing, purging, inventorying, purchasing, cramming, folding, weighing, and moving. Tired yet? If not, here is an outline.

Step one. We asked for guidance on what to bring and we were instructed to think about our daily routines and one by one write down everything we use. Just think about all the mini steps you go through each morning to get ready: soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, vitamins, etc. After coming up with a list of some of these things, we proceeded to step two.

Step two, picture yourself in a third world country and ask other missionaries what items from the above list are available. If available, are they outrageously expensive? For example, is there a certain brand of toothpaste you like or will generic do? I have to use sensitive with extra fluoride on a daily basis, which is not available. Do you mind spending $35 on a single sippy cup or do you have space to pack them? Do you use Ziploc bags? Because they are not found at all, just like aluminum foil. Once you have marked this on your list, you may proceed to step three.

Step three - buy missing items from your list. Some of our supporting churches really came through for us and held a supply drive for us. There were so many things we did not own or we needed to purchase more of to have as back-up. For example, we needed thermometers and lots of them. We need them for the refrigerator, freezer, and oven because when you are dealing with intermittent electricity, food can quickly spoil. But hey, what's a little botulism among friends...also, do they make a trichinosis vaccine??? We also had to purchase lots of personal items like deodorant, toothpaste, Tylenol, first aid supplies, batteries, and baby wipes. You don't realize how much you use until you try to count up a three year's supply! Now that you have your missing supplies, move to step four.

Step four (a) inventory and (b) attempt to fit everything into tubs/luggage. These two were pretty much hopelessly merged into one big mess. All items needed to be checked for HAZMAT before final packing. We ended up removing RainX, rubbing alcohol, and aerosol cans of bug spray. As we inventoried, we placed the item(s) in the shipping tubs to make sure they would fit...

We are limited by weight and space on what we can bring with us. Keeping this in mind, the goal is to be pragmatic with what we take. Let's face it, a Keurig single cup coffee make is not going to be a useful item in Africa. We needed to simplify and step four (a) and (b) turned into step five - purging!

We purged a large supply of winter clothing (we did just spend a winter in Canada!); we purged electronic kitchen gadgets (they are supposed to have 220V, same as Europe, but the voltage [if present] has been measured anywhere between 300V and 90V); we purged large paintings and extra picture frames; we purged unused baby toys; we purged extra tools (Kevin cried); we purged, and we purged, and we purged until we thought everything would fit....then we repeated step five.

Step six - fold, squish, and stuff! We were blessed to have a handful of helpers that day as we removed everything from the tubs, and separated all articles into piles by category. We had a pile for the kitchen, a pile of tools, a pile of linens, a pile of toiletries, a pile of crafts, and a pile of electronics. If something happened to one of our tubs en route, it would be devastating if we had "all of our eggs in one basket", so we split up the category items and put a little in each box. As we placed an item into a box, the box number had to be labeled on the inventory list for future reference. We also re-visited step five...

Step seven - weigh each tub. We had to make sure each tub was under 150 lbs or it would have required additional work in order to ship. So, we weighed boxes, moved articles around, re-inventoried the items, re-weighed...and got re-acquainted with step five...again....

Step eight - sigh with relief that we finished... at 11 pm...the night before we left for Idaho...

Photo: 1,903 lbs, 125 cubic ft, 12 bins, & 1 tool box...our shipment is READY!!!
1,903 lbs, 125 cubic ft, 12 bins, & 1 tool box...our shipment is READY!!!

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