Packing for Africa
In a week I will be leaving on a mission trip to Kampala and Kissoro, Uganda. When I signed up for the trip a year ago, it seemed like I had forever to plan. Today I am sweating bullets to get everything prepared. So…what does it take for a mom to leave her young family behind for that long and travel halfway around the world without them? Here is your handy dandy mom’s preparation guide to going on a mission trip:
1. You have to be called. Although most of my extended family is supportive, quite a few of them do not understand why I would leave my three- and seven-year-old for two weeks to travel that far. For me, I have felt led to do missions internationally for a while but I have simply been putting it off and making excuses. They were good ones, but excuses none the less. When I was in college and grad school I was broke. After that, I was having babies and could not leave them. Now, I could say that they have too many activities for others to keep up with. What would it be next? Is there ever a good time? I feel God is leading me, I am not putting Him off any longer…1, 2, 3, here we go!
2. You have to get your family’s game plan together. Using my google calendar as my guide, I have planned every step. My in-laws are coming to help part of the time, but some things I only know how to do.
3. Scheduling who is taking care of my kids while my husband is at work every day.
- Planning and preparing meals for my family to eat while I am gone.
- Stocking the house with common staples: Toilet paper, Apple Juice, Peanut Butter…
- Pre-packing the ballet bag, making a list of activities, and where the gear is for each one.
- Cleaning my house and having the clothes washed up.
- Teaching my husband how do to do a simple girl’s hairstyle.
- I try to keep a household manual with passwords, codes, phone numbers, etc. at all times anyway, but I obviously had to update this binder and make sure it covered all the bases.
4. You have to take care of all the travel details and prepare for these expenses.
- Do you have a passport? If not, it can cost over $100 when it is all said and done and it can take up to 6 weeks to get it in the mail.
- Do you have all the needed shots? My trip to Africa called for many shots that my insurance does not cover. These cost me around $200 and I have a great coverage plan. Some shots need to be given at least 6 weeks before the trip from an infectious disease doctor, so start early!
- Will your insurance cover you internationally and if not, does your church have insurance for the trip?
- Do you need to shop for certain clothes that will meet cultural dress codes? Modest American mom here can look like racy white woman there!
Although this is not an exhaustive list by any means, hopefully this will get you started on the right track. Pray for me! I will be gone Aug. 15-30th. So…if you see some sad little children at church with clothes that do not match, hair that is unkempt, and a pop tart for breakfast in their hand, their mom is probably on a mission trip!
I have a couple weeks before I leave…any “must know” tips I left out?