Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Care Package to South Africa

My brother Matt and sister-in-law Sara are currently volunteering with the Peace Corps in South Africa. By "South Africa," I do not mean "a major city with modern amentities like electricity and plumbing." Oh no. Matt and Sara live in "a remote village that you've never heard of in the middle of freaking nowhere, and once, they saw a cobra in their front yard (I would totally crap my pants and die if a cobra came within a mile of our house)."

I like to send them care packages, but postage to South Africa is EXPENSIVE. When they first left, I assembled a joke package with lots of random crap, like Fritos and a big plastic cup decorated with all the Twilight vampires. I proudly sealed up my box and took it to the post office, where I was advised it weighed five pounds and would cost about $70 to ship.

It should go without saying that I took the box home and resolved to send a lighter care package.

Since then, I've learned that the best way to ship some American love to South Africa is in a Priority Mail envelope. I use an envelope that's roughly the size of a People magazine. I can stuff as much as I want into the envelope, and the entire thing ships for the bargain price of $16.95.

According to the Peace Corps grapevine, the postal workers in South Africa are not exactly ethical. They have a bad habit of pilfering the contents of American packages. However, if you write things about Jesus and the Lord on your package, it's more likely to be safely delivered.

I feel a little weird writing "Jesus Saves!" on the envelope, but so far, all my care packages have been delivered to my brother's remote South African village.

This particular package contains a People magazine (for Sara's celebrity gossip needs), three blue pens, two small notepads, and chocolate. It's about 90% chocolate, because let's be honest: they are desperate for chocolate. Even though it's only August, my grocery store is already selling the Halloween variety candy packs, so I was able to send a varity of chocolate love to South Africa.

On the customs slip, I wrote that the package is just a gift of old magazines. Hopefully the South African postal workers will not smell the chocolate inside. My baby brother needs his Reese's fix.

p.s. The first time I mailed chocolate to South Africa, I was worried it would melt before it reached its destination. It can take a good three weeks for a care package to travel from Pasadena, California to Remote Village, South Africa. However, I have now sent candy several times, and it has all arrived in an edible form. Peace Corps volunteers can't be choosy about their candy.