Saturday, June 14, 2008

Packing and Preparing to Leave

Over the past two days, ten students have addressed the challenge of figuring out what to bring, what to leave behind, and how to fit it all into two bags. Fortunately for all parties involved, we had the benefit of experience and enthusiasm aiding us in the process. As for experience, Zambia trip veterans provided some guidance and counseling in the finer points of packing. Melinda Mueller and Mindy Watson helped people to sort through their packed bags to identify those items that were unnecessary and to make sure that everyone had remembered all of the essentials. (Who knew that tea tree oil and zip lock bags were supposed to be in your luggage?) Nick Lew and his crew of tech-savvy assistants, including Matt Dawson and John Theiler, managed to clean and prepare over 40 laptops which were carefully packed in bubble wrap and brought over to Don's classroom to be transferred into the luggage. Don Zwiers orchestrated a detailed assembly line that had the students weighing their personal bags before filling them with enough laptops, textbooks, clothing, and shoes to bring their weight right up to the 50 pound limit. A detailed labeling system has prepared us to leave with numbered bags and a clear understanding of the important items in each of them. Charlie Mohn and Shelley Morrison were on hand to demonstrate the appropriate technique for adding three pairs of shoes, two laptops, and four windbreakers to what most would consider a full suitcase. While all of this packing and organization might seem a bit impersonal, Sonja Nielsen was busy working with Katrin Deeg to make sure that the many letters from SAAS students got delivered safely to their pen pals at the Birdland School.
The enthusiasm came in the form of ten students who will be starting their journey from Seattle to Lusaka in less than 72 hours. I know that I'm excited to climb aboard that plane and from the looks of everyone who was involved with trip preparations over the last two days, they are too.

All the best,
- Pete

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