Packing for this adventure was
taxing. I'm sure you have all felt the pain of trying to pack
for a two week vacation. Now, imagine trying to cram a year's
worth of belongings into two bags. Lemme tell ya', it's a
Our site coordinators (bosses) sent
us a run-down of necessities for the year. It looks like a
list you might see for a slumber party scavenger hunt. Long
underwear... peanut butter... batteries... wet wipes... a years'
supply of feminine hygiene products, etc. The items listed
would fill a dump truck. We had to whittle it down.
So... here's the list of what we brought:
The Pack Mules
Head For Guatemala
- 5 pairs pants (and/or skirts) each
- 6-8 shirts each
- 3 sweaters each
- 1 rain jacket each
- 15 pairs underwear each
- 15 pair socks each
- Waterproof hiking boots, 1 pair
tennis shoes, 1 pair shower shoes
- Sleeping bags
- Hand sanitizer
- CDs & portable player (need
tunes from home!)
- Notebook- Dell, of course
- Books for "quiet time"
- Children's books in Espanol like
"Eres mi mama?" and "Huevos Verdes con Jamon"
- Bilingual Bibles & a song
- Enough medicine, sanitary items and stomach drugs
to keep us from having to use the bathroom until 2008
We went to Wal-Mart and got some of
those really cool "Space Bags" as seen on TV... you
know... the ones you can chunk your clothes into and then smush it down to take all the air out of the bag?
We did a test run at
the Wal-Mart by going to the lingere section and compressing a bunch
of mu-mus and nightgowns. When the lady who worked the section
came over and saw us on the ground pulverizing her delicates, she
had a few questions. However, we were able to show her the results of
the exercise... a bag of clothes smashed so thin that it now
resembled a package of preserved beef jerky. SOLD!
With the space bags, we were able
to compress our clothes so they would all fit into our two large
backpacks. The rest of the items got stashed into one large
rolling suitcase and a big 'ol duffel bag. When we got to the
airport for the bag "weigh in", we had a grand total of
210 pounds of American crap. Amazing, eh?
We thought we would never have
enough to last us through the year. The craziest part of this
whole packing adventure is that now that we're here, we feel like we
have too much. Most folks here wear the same clothes several
days in a row without a second thought. Some have only 2 or 3
outfits to last them the year.
It's the rainy season here, so we
get a downpour for abut 4 hours per day. Rather than umbrellas
and raincoats, people here simply carry around big pieces of rough
plastic to cover themselves. Our waterproof coats and boots
from REI seem like a total extravagance but at the same time, a
(Scott) I could say more about life here in
Xela, but there will be much more to tell as the year goes on.
I miss America like CRAZY, and it's only been 6 days. I want my soft
bed. I want my clean sheets. I want my ESPN and
Oprah! However, there is something very enchanting about the
simplicity of life here. In truth... the less stuff you
have... the less stuff you have to worry about. Our bags are
getting lighter by the day and our hearts are filling up fast.
(Gabby) Man, after the
Globalization discussion we had at Orientation, we were ready to
send half our stuff back home, but we figured sending 2 sweaters, a
hairdryer (which I haven't been using - ugh!) and a coupla books
wouldn't lighten our load by a whole bag, so... we brought
todos. I'm really adjusting well to our new digs. I'm
happy to report that my stomach is making me proud.
While we no longer get meat every day or protein for that matter,
we're having a blast. After one week, our espanol es mas mejor
que antes de nuestro viaje.
Until next time...