A Village of Women and One Good Man

The day before the trip my inner village of women showed up to complete the millions of tasks left undone.  Chinyere, Doris and Kamala each took projects and ran with them. When I signed up for third trip I began requesting donations of supplies or money to purchase medical supplied for the clinic.  The Universe always works—when you ask you are given. I received enough supplies to fill 3 large 19 gallon bins: gloves (exam and sterile) DeLees; bulb syringes; gauze; specula; infant hats; surgi-lube; alcohol wipes; amnihooks; straight catheters; infant ambu bag masks;  food/snacks;  childbirth education posters; Tylenol/Motrin; plus 25 gorgeous “mommy and infant bags”; just to name a few things.

But South African (SA) Airlines will only allow: 1 carry-on, 2 bags for free and 1 excess bag ($125.00), each weighing 50 lbs or less  I  had written a letter to the SA Airways requesting a waiver of this excess baggage restrictions due to the humanitarian nature of the trip (medical supplies), but in two weeks of persistent calling and e-mails I had gotten no response.

So I called Mother Packers.  Ju Ju took charge to smash/combine all of the critical medical supplies into 2 bins and meet the 50 lbs limit and get the top duct taped on. Maisha, known for the “Drop and Roll” packing style made me drop my clothes amount in half; then she did the old camp roll of the remaining clothes.  The “Mommy and Infant “bags went in with my clothes. We throw everything left in the last bag.

Now Lorrie arrives with dinner (my favorite, ropas viejas and rice) and her skills as a mover and shaker. She prioritizes the supplies and repacks the bag and announces that they all exceed the 50 lb limit.  I do not own a scale so we each guestimate what each bag weighs and agrees with her and prays SA Airways will let the extra bin and extra weight on board.

They leave and shortly Shayla’s husband, “Baba OJ” as I call him arrives to drop off some things. I ask him to guestimate the weight of the bags and bins: bins—50 and 26; bags— 37 and 33. I asked how he knows that and with the confidence of a Natural Born Black Man he stated that his youngest child weighs 44 lbs so he knows that stuff.

I call my Mom to say good bye, take a white bath, say my prayers and go to bed.