Archive for February 2010

Packed and Ready to Go!

February 5, 2010

Where did three weeks go?? All of a sudden we’re leaving from home in 30 minutes. I have been very busy with all the preparations for this trip. I now have all our travel and accommodations reserved. Last week, I inquired about the luggage restrictions and was delighted to find out that things are no different than last year, except for where the cabin baggage is stored. To get to Seattle, we may have our bigger cabin bag stored in with the checked luggage but can recover it there and take it with us on the remainder of our trip. The media hasn’t told the whole story on cabin luggage!

Parker and I can take 4-50 pound pieces of luggage with us so for the past week or more, my living room has looked as if a tornado whirled through. My family has been peaking at the TV over the piles of donated items that I am organizing into two big boxes and 2 big duffle bags.

Everything to be packed, takes up space in our living room

Packing is an exacting job. It’s important to make sure all breakables are packed tightly with cushioning materials. Baby and children’s clothes work very well to tuck in, around, and between items that could be damaged. Each bag must be carefully weighed to maximize the luggage space. Luckily we have a commercial scale so I can fill each piece of luggage to 49.5 pounds. Maximizing the allowable weight is always one of my goals.

In a game box, I managed to pack 6 pairs of scissors and 5 pieces of children's clothes

One box is for medical supplies for the Casa Materna as recommend by Bertha-stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, glucose meter and accessories, thermometers, condoms—all donated. I have a collection of small soaps, shampoos and conditioners donated from various friends’ hotel stays. These are available for the mothers who spend time at the Casa Materna. My friend Shirley, who travelled with me in March 2009, came across a fantastic supply of high-quality reading glasses, 107 pairs, in all strengths, with price tags from $9.99 to $28.99, all for $1 each. She purchased all that the store had and delivered them to me last summer. What an amazing donation that is for the people of Santa Rosa.  So many people in the area need reading glasses but have no money to buy them at full cost.  My dentist donated toothbrushes and toothpaste. I donated three mosquito nets to protect the newborn babies. By coincidence, a local friend was able to deliver them to me from Prince George this week. In addition, I have a variety of other donated medical supplies that may be useful at the Casa Materna or at the local health clinic.

The second box contains educational supplies for the playschool, which includes pencils, crayons, scissors, art and music supplies, board games, educational toys and games, and professional books for the teacher on activities for play school-aged children. Part of my work this time will be to introduce the teacher to new ideas to use with the children from the books. The staff at Topley Elementary School donated $25 for me to purchase a box of paper for the playschool and the children are doing a coin drive to raise funds for plastic bins to store the various supplies.

One duffle bag contains fabrics and notions donated from many people around the province. Thank you to all those people. Included are 11 different bolts of beautiful dress fabrics ranging in lengths from 1.5 m to 13 m. In calculating the retail cost, this trip’s fabric donations are worth over $1200. Several years ago, a friend in Burns Lake had to close her fabric store and at the end of her sale donated two huge boxes of bolts of fabrics. I have been taking a selection of them with me to the sewing school each trip. A huge thank you is again extended to Eileen, for thinking about Take A Stand for Kids. Your donation is continuing to benefit the women and girls at the school. This bag also contains children’s clothes donated by Pauline in Smithers. She has been a regular donor for the past few years, Thanks Pauline!

The last duffle bag is filling with the flow-over from the other luggage and gifts for friends, my translator’s family and children I meet along the way.

Although I have mentioned a few donors, at this time I would like to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to ALL the generous people who have made material, as well as monetary donations, to Take A Stand for Kids. Your interest in and support for the people of Santa Rosa del Peñon, Nicaragua is most gratefully acknowledged.

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