Friday, July 3, 2009

I Feel Like a Pack Horse!

When people in Burkina learned that I was going to England for a few days, they began asking if I would be willing to bring some stuff back for them. Stuff like books and equipment is very expensive to ship or mail to Burkina, even if ordered from places in nearby Europe instead of Canada or the USA. But if it could be ordered in Europe or the UK and shipped to the training centre I was going to... well, that was another story! And it would be such a shame to waste the hefty 46 kg baggage allowance I had on the return flight, wouldn't it?

So the person in charge of our Centre library went nuts, ordering so many linguistic books and biblical commentaries that it wasn’t long before I received a frantic note from the training centre’s mailroom supervisor in England wondering who I was, where I was, and when I planned to come and clear out their mailroom! They were being swamped by packages with my name on them! I did my best to calm her down and put her mind at ease.

Then our centre kitchen decided that this was the ideal opportunity to order a quality ice cream maker and a pasta machine. The two additional large, heavy packages that arrived prompted another panic-filled message to my inbox. The person in charge begged me to please make it stop! I gave her the best advice I could: Pray that those ordering all these things would soon reach the end of their budgets!

When I finally arrived at the mailroom here in England, I was given a hero’s welcome. The ladies there jumped up from their chairs with big smiles on their faces and exclaimed, “So you’re Mike! You’re famous around here!” With eager hands, they showed me the pile of packages waiting for me, and helped me carry them out to the front door. This act alone nearly doubled their available floor space in that office.

I spent a good chunk of time packing all that stuff into the two duffle bags I’d brought along for this purpose. It took a bit of manoeuvring and rearranging, but I finally managed to get it all in and evenly distributed into two bags of 23 kgs each. Now I just need to get them to the airport!

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