Rockin’ Guat 2009: Episode 2


Our bus to O’Hare leaves tomorrow from the Memorial Union at 11:30am, so tonight was Pack Night. I’ve got my trusty small blue backpack for a carry-on as well as my Eagle Creek Hovercraft 22, which is really a suitcase but is small enough to be a carry-on — super sweet. All my family members have one. I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a spacious suitcase that can be used for anything from weekend getaways to drug cartels–I mean…flower carriers.

Today I’ve been to and from places more often than not: a few trips to Target for gifts for our homestay families, clothes, accessories, etc.; to Best Buy for one accessory Target did not have (I know, how is that possible?); to the library to get some last minute CDs to add to my iPod (Josh Ritter is a must-have for any music lover); and later tonight to Walmart for some returns and ponchos. Sorry for the carbon emissions, Al Gore.

A few of my parents’ friends came over tonight to help with packing. They were in Guatemala with my mom last January, so they were a great help with packing tips and weighing the checked baggage and tips for life in the Guat. We’ve got bags full of travel-size toothpaste we’re going to donate to the kids there, but they were all in boxes which was hindering our packing abilities. So they all gathered around to unpack the hundreds of bottles of toothpaste from their boxes.

It was a tedious job, but I was struck at the sight of a bunch of people doing this boring task simply because they wanted to serve in some way. They wouldn’t be seeing the kids that will receive the toothpaste, but they helped anyway. I hope the whole trip will be full of blessings like this.

But after a few loads of laundry and some arduous strain, we finally got the bags zipped up and ready to go. We’ve got one checked bag (which my family has dubbed “Bagasaurus”) full of donations: medication, hats, toothpaste, a soccer ball and pump, medical equipment, a camera, and anything else my sister and I will part with at the end of our journey. It’s about 47 lbs. — three shy of the limit. Thinking of the shoulder pain that I will experience on my trip down to Guatemala, I’m reminded of lyrics from the Beatles’ “Carry That Weight”:

Boy, you’re gonna carry that weight / Carry that weight for a long time.

Thanks for reminding me, Paul.

On the next episode of ROCKIN’ THE GUAT 2009: 4am wake-up calls and dealing with Customs.