Our Moldova mission team had a packing party tonight. No band, no party favors—not that kind of party, though we did eat some tacos. Tonight was our last chance to get together before we depart to divvy out supplies we’ll need to complete our mission. We are saving shipping charges by packing supplies in our personal luggage. Crazy things like heavy VGA power cords, silk fern leaves, fabric, lightbulbs, even a projector. If the TSA opens Erin’s bag, an entire jungle could pop out. The challenge is in equalizing the weight of the bags so that none of them goes over the 50 pound limit.
Over dinner I had an opportunity to vent my anxieties to the team. Today was spent reading countless horror stories of pickpockets and purse snatchers and other professional scammers. Yesterday I spent over an hour at Mori Luggage trying out every combo of purse, wallet, money belt, lanyard style passport holders, totes—you name it. Some with anti-theft wires, some with locks, and inflatable neck pillows for the plane ride. I bought one of each for my family to try.
Then on to buy ugly black shoes so that I won’t look like a typical American in white athletic shoes, because word on the street is that only we true red, white and blue patriots wear white sneakers, and that equals target for criminals. I picked up a pair of the ugliest shoes I’ve ever had—a cross between baseball cleats and bowling shoes. With the elastic waist traveler’s pants and those on my peds, I’ll look like Broom Hilda circa 1946 in a war-torn village. I think we agreed to throw fashion out the window. It’s a mission trip, we keep reminding ourselves, not a European vacation.
With that reminder, we discussed packing, and I’m pretty sure Super Stuffer Susan will fit her week’s worth of wear in a shoebox-size backpack, because her carry-on will be stocked with snacks. If she needs any shoes (besides her AMERICAN WHITE ONES), she can hit Erin up for some, because Erin’s making room for several styles amidst all the ferns—just in case.
One highlight of the night was resizing and packaging six-foot long bamboo screens, but the guys managed to find a saw at the church, reducing it by half, rolling it in brown paper and taping the daylights out of it. We dare TSA to tear that apart to see what’s inside. (I’ll probably regret that dare later.)
With all hands on deck, Michael logged on a spreadsheet who took what so that everything will be accounted and hopefully show up together at Meteora where we’ll fashion these odds and ends into something wonderful.
After circling up and praying together, we went our separate ways until we meet at the Atlanta airport three days from now. I expect a barrage of emails with last-minute ideas, information and questions, but I’m happy to report that much of the stress I felt earlier today subsided as a result of meeting together with the team.