Friday, October 12, 2007
Birthday in October
My birthday was in July, but I have had so much support from my family and friends that the packages are still coming. I got a notice today from the Sisters that I had another package waiting for me at the Posta. At first, it made me nervous because although I like receiving packages, I don’t like going to the Posta to retrieve them.
There is a woman who works at the counter at the Posta who on a personal level seems nice enough, but when it comes to the business of sending and retrieving packages, she is the enemy. And every time I enter the Posta another battle between her and I begins. It is her job, when someone comes to retrieve a package, to charge the receiver with fees and taxes that sometimes can amount to more than the shipping cost. The Kenyan government seems to be very watchful when it comes to packages from other countries. Packages that are large and somewhat heavy are thought to contain items of significant value and are slapped with the most amount of taxes.
The last time I went to the Posta I got into an argument with this woman about the quality of ketchup that was in my package. When she wanted to charge me an outrageous fee for a package, I pointed to the customs label and said, “It’s only ketchup!” “You want to charge me this much for ketchup!” She then promptly responded by pointing to the address label and said, “Yes, fancy American ketchup!”
So it was, when I heard that there was another package waiting for me, that I reluctantly dragged myself over to the Posta once more. In the end, surprisingly, it wasn’t so bad. My strategy was to say as few words as possible. I went to the counter, handed “the enemy“ my package retrieval slip, paid an unusually small amount in taxes and fees, and left without a word. It was probably my best trip to the Posta yet.
The package contained belated birthday greetings from some friends back home. Along with a signed “belated birthday” banner, I received a St. Therese medal, various books, including The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, sugar-free Kool-Aid, and Twizzlers.
Just when I was about to write a post titled, “It’s October, and the candy you sent me is all gone!”
Thanks Rakhi, Tim M., Raquel, Erin, JP, Mike, Mary, Vicki, Andrea, Julie, Joseph, and Jonathan. You’re support of my work has been amazing! You have been in my thoughts and prayers everyday. I can’t wait to see you all when I get back. Sorry JP, the chickens can’t come!
Posted by tim at 11:34 PM