Thursday, April 01, 2010

Going Postal

We decided we would mail some of our books and decorator items back to the US. We knew enough about the Zambian postal system to be a little wary, but we thought it was worth a try. So six weeks ago David took a box of books in to the Kalomo Post Office and asked the postmaster what he should do to mail them back to the US. The postmaster said he needed to put them into smaller boxes that weighed less than 4 kilograms each. So David brought the box home and divided up the books into three smaller boxes, taped them up nicely, labeled them carefully, and went back to the post office. The postmaster looked at him thoughtfully, and said, "Well, maybe you should put them all in one bigger box." It seems that there was a way to trace the larger box, but not the smaller ones, and the price was almost the same.

David brought the boxes back home and repacked them into one. In less than three weeks, the books arrived in the US with no problem. We were emboldened to try again. This time we took in an empty Action Packer to show the postmaster. "Can we mail one of these?" David asked. The postmaster smiled and assured him we could. We took it home, filled it with all kinds of items, padlocked the sides, taped it up carefully, and labeled it nicely. David took the filled Action Packer back to the post office. Now the postmaster says, "No, you can't send that. We must have some place to write on it." David reminded him that he had earlier said it WAS possible to send the Action Packer. The postmaster seemed to have had a major brain freeze and did not recall our earlier visit.

Back to the Mission, where David now enlisted the help of Obrien and Brighton (shown below) to cover the Action Packer. We scrounged for cardboard boxes (a precious commodity around here) and duct tape (even more precious!). We cut, we wrapped, we taped, and then we taped some more.

We ended up with a parcel that is composed of three different boxes and four different kinds of tape. It's labeled and waiting for yet another trip to the Post Office tomorrow. Can't wait to hear what the postmaster says about this one.

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