Friday, April 26, 2013

Going Postal

A few days ago, we received a package from the States. It had a printed postage tag in the corner where it normally is, but apparently the postal clerk charged for a domestic package instead of an international package. Instead of just printing an additional tag, they used stamps. The box had 98 postage stamps on it, if I counted correctly. We laughed and laughed when we saw the box. The lady at the post office here in Takoradi, Ghana, even asked why it had so many stamps on it.
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Several years ago, there was a certain postal employee named Essi who made it a nightmare to receive any package. We would go to our post office box, find a package slip, and then make the dreaded trip down the hallway to claim the package. Normally, receiving a package is a happy occasion, but Essi did not make it a very pleasant experience. It would take no less than one hour and as long as three hours once we reached Essi's window. There were two different windows side by side. She took the slip from you at one window; then, she went in search of your package. The next step was for the package to be inspected to determine customs and duty fees. Essi was also the person who did this, but you had to go to window number two for this process. She opened the box and looked at each item. She had a book that was about ten inches thick; she would attempt to look up every item in her book. The only problem was that she did not even know what half of the items were. She would write down a price beside each item. Then, she went to a desk in the corner of her office to tally up the total. At that point, it was time to go back to window number one to sign for the package. There was just one step left in receiving the package – going back to your seat in the hallway so that she could call you back to window number two to receive the package. We were so thankful the day that Essi was transferred to a different location; we actually hoped that she had retired so that no one else would have to go through her dreaded process. The process is much simpler now. It is all processed at one window, and most of the time they just glance inside the package instead of removing every item!

Brenda Booth, missionary in Panama with her husband Franklin and their three children, shared a good package story with me. Did you know that you can enjoy grits even if you do not eat them? About two years ago, the Booths received a package from a supporting church. The church had asked them what they wanted and needed. Her husband, Franklin, is from South Georgia and asked for grits. They were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the package. When Franklin went to pick up the box at the post office, one of the three cans of grits that had been sent had exploded. There were grits everywhere inside that box. As the post office clerk opened the box, Frank had quite a time trying to explain the white grainy substance! The minute he got home,they took the box outside and sat down to dig out their surprise gifts and shake out the grits. They ended up throwing the grits up in the air and pretending it was snow. Brenda said that she personally does not care for grits, but they will never forget the fun that they had with those grits!
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Stay tuned next week for more package stories. If you have a package story or some other funny story that you would like to share with us, please e-mail it to me at Please include the name of each family member, your field of service, and a picture of your family if possible.

Until next week, keep your sunny side up!


Laura Consford said...

We found out the reason for all of the stamps. The post office had a bunch of stamps that were about to expire. Instead of sending them all back, they decided to use them up!

Rachel said...

Wow! Three hours to get a package - I guess they are worth it, aren't they?
Thanks for sharing these stories. It's fun to read about other missionary's experiences.

Laura Consford said...

Joe got to the point that he refused to go to the post office to claim packages from that lady! I went in a taxi. Now, it usually just takes a few minutes, and Joe is happy to claim the packages.