In High School I read a book entitled "The Things They Carried" and it is a great book. It is a story of soldiers at war and the book uses the things they have to carry as a metaphor for many things they go through in battle and in their pasts. I have begun packing for Cuba and it is quite an interesting suitcase that I will carry.
Here it is. This enormous and ominous bag of things. Necessary and unnecessary.
Maybe a third of this bag contains my personal items. The rest are items to bring to family members and to share with the people at the church. In this bag I have packed: towels, sheets, work clothes, sneakers, antibiotics, toys for children, candy, boxes of macaroni and cheese, lots of soap, baseball stuff, a huge first aid kit, paint rollers, paint brushes, hangers, sandpaper, tooth brushes, a blood pressure monitor, books and since there is more space I am sure we will be cramming much more.
Sounds totally random right? Well it is, in fact, totally random. My items I planned quite carefully to make sure I bring only what I need and that it is the lightest weight stuff possible. The medicine, first aid and blood pressure monitor have specific people in mind and purposes. But everything else is kind of the story here.
Macaroni and cheese? Well the people are starving in Cuba and when you hear their stories, a majority revolve around food. The macaroni and cheese is high in calories and fat and for them it is an extra special treat. Quality soap is hard to come by so we bring lots of it. And I am sure you can imagine toys and books are sparce. They have so little of so many things... THINGS THAT I TAKE FOR GRANTED EVERY SINGLE DAY... That anything that we have that we can take that is durable and in good shape is like giving a new and treasured gift for the recipient in Cuba.
I am getting to the point where I think about this experience and what its going to be like and I become extremely emotional. It's hard for me to contain my excitement, fear, sadness, and overall emotion for what it will be like to see this country I have heard stories of my whole life. This seemingly mythical island that has rooted itself so deeply in my family. My arrival will be a symbolic homecoming for my family and to finally meet all those who I know only through pictures will be a very precious moment.
Exactly one week from this minute, we will be packing the cars with the things we will be carrying and embarking on this great adventure.