Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pulling a hand cart

Greg entering the MTC
By Greg

The first go around I was allowed to take one suitcase and a briefcase.  It was a real trick to get all my stuff in that one case, but it was a premium Samsonite and a couple of us sat on it and then locked it shut.  Samsonite suitcases were top of the line.  The TV commerical for them showed a bunch of gorillas in a zoo and they threw in several Samsonites.  The apes jumped on them, tossed them around and did everything a primate or airport baggage handler would do to try to hurt them.  Of course, they came out without a scratch and never ever opened.  I think I still have this case, though I never use it.  I also filled my briefcase to its full capacity.

This time we are both allowed two checked bags not to exceed 50 pounds each.  We have been packing them for several weeks.  I have taken mine to the gym a couple of times to balance the weight.  I am determined to get my full 100 pounds.

It is amazing to consider that handcart pioneers were allowed only 17 pounds per person.  Now, that did not include their food, but it was the limit for all of their personal items, make-up, clothes, etc.

You can imagine the normal stuff we are taking: clothes, shoes, underwear, skirts (Debi only), socks, etc.  But there are some unusual items that we are including that I though might be interesting.

1 suit for me.  I am to wear it there, hang it up, wear it home, and never touch it in between.

I get to wear sandals.  Not all the time, but I am taking sandals.

Flip-flops are essential for both of us.  Women wear them to church in Africa.

Swimming suits.  We can not drink the water but there are opportunities to swim in it.  Yes, couples can go swimming.  We may not be able to swim laps, but we are taking our goggles as well.

Debi has been told that the make-up there is poor so she is taking a two-year supply.  However, we will both sweat so much in the heat that make-up serves little value.  I have decided to go make-up free.

We are taking converters and transformers to allow our electrical stuff (hair dryers, shavers, electric drills and skill saws--not really!) to work on the 220 power, which is somewhat unreliable.

We need an international drivers permit which we have obtained from AAA.  We will have a car, and they drive on the same side of the road as we do in the US, however, the following has been repeated several times "Driving regulations are similar to those in the US (but don't count on the locals observing any of the rules!  This can never be adequately have to see it to believe it).

Measuring cups and zip lock bags.

A memory foam mattress pad for a king sized bed.  African mattresses are compared to high school wrestling pads.  This pad is huge, and even though it is still in its package, it takes up a lot of room.

Your favorite pillow.  Debi is taking one, I am taking Debi.

Medications.  Our doctor has given us his African pills supplies.  We look like drug dealers.  Even though you can get medicines in Africa, Dr. Debi will be able to heal me of any ailement with her herbs and bottles.

They say if you have any spare room, imagine that!  We might want to bring chocolate chips, pecans and walnuts.  I ate a lot of pecan pie in Florida, maybe there is a correlation to missions and pecans.  We are not taking them, but we hope we don't get there and say, "Oh Crap!  Where are the walnuts!"  Oh, I won't say "crap" after I am set apart.

I am also taking flashlights, knifes (this is a tool, not a weapon) a compass and a few other non-disclosed items.

So, we are nearly packed.  I don't think I need help sitting on our bags to close them.  But I am sure glad that today, suitcase bags have wheels!


  1. Dad, I love how you always give lots of details! It might seem boring to list what you are taking, but it is is interesting and makes me curious. Why the measuring cups? Please tell me you are really taking a pillow. and non-disclosed items? Hmmm.... I am glad to know you are taking the foam pad. I am so excited to learn about Africa through you. I love you!

  2. ha ha ha... oh Greg, you make me laugh. LOVE the descriptions of your packing list. Can't believe you are fitting everything and a foam mattress in! Perhaps someone will have to mail you some walnut chocolate chip cookies!