I have never prepared for a trip like this before.
This makes sense when you consider that I have never been on a trip like this. The last time I went on a service oriented trip of any kind was in high school.
My youth group visited the Colonias in Juarez, Mexico to help them construct another building. We played with children in the orphanage and ate pizza while their daily bread was rotting in the corner. They provided the pizza and it broke our hearts.
Last night, I painted my toe nails and plucked my eye brows after a very modest shopping trip. After discussing the weather and clothing options with my friend and coworker, I found myself lacking. I set out with a short list of things to purchase to make my trip more comfortable.
Of course, I found more than enough stuff. I tried it on. I shifted on both feet. I wandered around the store with more than enough over my arm and then I put it down.
I couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t buy more.
I decided to grab the waterproof outdoor shoes and the permethrin bug spray. I bought a $3 shirt off the clearance racks and headed home. I even bought that with a gift card.
I have enough.
It’s not the rural surroundings of my trip that are changing my habits. It’s not even the length of my stay.
It’s knowing that when I step out in front of hundreds of children in southwest Uganda, what I am wearing will not matter so much. Recognizing that the uniform they are wearing is their only “outfit” puts a damper on a suitcase full of trendy t-shirts. Knowing that the shoes on their feet were provided by our organization and are their only pair.
I have too much.
I am packing light.
Let the focus be on what I am leaving behind and what I am bringing back to share.
PS – Don’t worry about me though. I am still well prepared and will be just fine. :)