Packing for Guatemala is similar to the Olympics. There are different events, each with their own degree of difficulty and challenges. We feel like gold medal winners when we can successfully pack what we need within the confines of the 50# weight limit/suitcase. We have been training for this for years. With every trip we learn a little more and tweak the playbook.
This evening the swapping begins. Some items for the mission trip need to arrive early, other things can wait until and arrive with the rest of the team. Monty brought me 49 lunch boxes, Lisa is bringing me approx 50 t shirts. She is also bringing several pounds of peanut butter and jelly and other items to give to Monty to bring later and so on. The contents of each suitcase will be inventoried, and the weighing and redistribution begins anew. We are basically experts. I can even tell how much a suitcase weighs by lifting it. A scale will be used to double check, but I am usually really close, within a half pound or so. Gold medal worthy.
There have been a handful of times when items have accidentally gotten passed us gold medal packers. In the bustle to get packed to come home, I forgot I had a pack of sidewalk chalk with pointed ends in my backpack. Guatemalan security frowned upon that. Last year, I had a box of 2 inch wood screws in my backpack. Also frowned upon by Guatemalan security. In my defense, I did not remember these things being in my possession.
One of the projects of Moving Mountains Mission, a partner of the GIFTS Program, is to operate a donation clinic. Approximately 350 children will be coming through the donation clinic which is stocked with clothing and shoes brought to Guatemala by mission team members. People have generously been dropping off
shoes at our house for us to take. Muchos zappatos! (many shoes).
Today Rico and I tackled the shoe situation. Box after box was sorted. Guatemalans are small in stature so
some simply do not fix (namely the size 14 men's), some are not practical for the climate there (winter boots) and some had seen better days. We packed some, donated some, and tossed some which have already fulfilled their purpose. Shoes are always in demand and I am so thankful we are able to contribute so many again this year.
I won't be fully packed until we are ready to leave. I am more of a fly by the seat of my pants sort of girl!
Good thing I am not a worrier by nature. Soon piles will start to form throughout the house, and those piles will eventually make it into a suitcase. No worries, I have 3 more whole days!