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Packing Up

August 24, 2009

Wow… it’s been a while since I’ve had any time to sit down and write. Somewhere I have a book, in which I’ve been scribbling down things to write posts about… I think I know which box it’s in… I’m fairly sure at any rate.

This time in two weeks’ time I will be in Botswana, on the first day of my new role. It’s a little weird to think about it. I think I may have reached a point where it’s not going to feel any more real until I’ve been there for a few weeks, although I suppose that might all change as I wave goodbye to my family at the departure gate.


New people live in my old house, all my stuff is in boxes at my mum’s and I’ve said a lot (though not all) of my good byes. I’ve had most of my jabs, my passport has arrived and my flights are booked. I’ve managed to raise a fair amount of the money I need for the whole year, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of people, so thank you very much! You know who you are. There’s more I need to continue to raise, but I’m confident that it will happen.

There is a lot to do still, but there’s time in which to do it. One of my biggest challenges now is to work out what exactly I need to take with me, and how much of the stuff I think I want to take is not actually required. 30kilos sounds like a pretty good luggage allowance, but I’m definitely a ‘kitchen sink’ type of packer.

When we were on our training weekend we had a session on what to pack and, just as importantly, what not to pack. So I know I need my first aid kit with sterile needles and that I should probably wait and buy my mosquito repellant locally. Similarly, I should take things that remind me of home, but remember that you can only live in one place at any one time. I mustn’t go out to Botswana and spend all my time there wondering what’s going on back home. I need to be present where I am, focused on the people I’m with and the lives we will be living. (That said, Skype will definitely be my friend over the coming 12 months! Net connection willing of course.)

So what’s definitely on the list? In alphabetical order we have:

  • Bible
  • Book
  • Camera
  • Candle (from our Commissioning Service)
  • Clothes (it’s bit more specific than that but I won’t bore you!)
  • Emergency Cheering Up Kit™ (things supplied by family and friends)
  • First Aid Kit (with afore mentioned sterile needles)
  • Flute
  • Journal(s) (including the beautiful one I was given by ICM as a leaving gift)
  • Photos (of family and friends, of the UK and of Botswana when I was a kid)
  • Scrapping stuff (a very cut down supply)
  • Tech (for communicating, since that’s partly my job!)
  • Wash kit

First and foremost though, I need to buy a decent case! If anyone has any tips, feel free to leave them in the comments 😉

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2009 3:09 pm

    Firstly, don’t take a case. If you have to actually move something outside of an airport, rucksacks are far, far far easier to carry, and inside airports (the only place where those silly little wheels they have on suitcases are of any use at all), they have trolleys (which are much better anyway – even if you have a case).
    Secondly, you can carry books of all kinds, (‘Bibles’ or otherwise) in electronic format on whatever tech your taking (you can load hundreds into a mobile if that’s all you want to take), and Africa (especially the more modern bits like Botswana, but even further afield) has much much better availability of electricity than you might think. Paper books are bulky, and it’s not like your mum’s going to throw away your more treasured copies.
    Finally, remember that packing is a death of a thousand cuts. ‘Oh, but it’s only one little strappy top’, or ‘that notebook doesn’t weigh very much’, or ‘well, it’s better to have spare batteries and not use them than be without – they don’t weigh much’ is all rubbish. If you aren’t absolutely certain you are going to use it, you don’t want it. In fact, scratch that – if you aren’t absolutely certain that you NEED it, you don’t want it. At some point you might have to walk five miles across a hot town in midday with it on your back, and even in perfect circumstances you are going to have to lug it about the place a great deal (don’t let ‘helpful’ people carry it about for you, either – they want paying, and there’s always the off-chance they might just run off). Botswana has shops – and I don’t just mean odd little places, I mean supermarkets and malls and shopping centres. You will not have a problem if you need anything.

  2. oneredsock permalink
    August 24, 2009 3:41 pm

    Cheers Rob, I shall indeed be shopping locally. Good call on the thousand cuts front – I’ve fallen foul of that before, but I think/hope I’m getting better at that. The weight limit is a great incentiviser. (And if I really really need something I can neither pack nor get out there, I’ll cope without until some kind visitor can bring it over with them 😉

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