Saturday, November 6, 2010

Helpful Hints for Mailing Packages

Sometimes, the packages come into Freetown pretty beat up. Since Christmas is coming up, we thought some helpful hints for mailing would be a good idea.  Also, this address works well for cards or thicker letters than Pouch will take.  The address that works best is: Your missionary's name, Sierra Leone Freetown Mission, Box 263, Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa
Inside the box:  seal each item --like chocolate or peanut butter---in a plastic bag (that way if it breaks open or melts, it is inside the plastic bag and doesn't ruin everything else); use a filler (like newspapers, packing peanuts) to pack items tight (after traveling so many miles, things settle and shake, then are crushed); take new items out of the original packaging because now it is "used".  This isn't an endorsement for USPS; but the priority, flat rate boxes seem to arrive in better condition and haven't been opened.  If you are sending a small amount of currency, put it in some socks or hide it someplace.  Don't send what you can't afford to lose.  $10 = 40,000 Leones, which goes a long way here.
Outside the box:  tape well all seams, sides, ends, corners; don't insure the package.  When it is insured, we have to pay an additional duty tax which sometimes is more than the worth of the items sent.  One was insured for $1000  (which was a typo). The duty tax would have been $127.  The contents were about $50 worth or less.  With some effort, the tax was reduced to around $20. When the official saw that it was things of little value, he was reasonable and changed the duty tax.  Keep the value low.

Write "missionary supplies" on the customs slip and/or on the package.  Or write "candy" or "cookies"...  It seems unusual but religious stickers are a good deterent to theft.   Beware of heavy objects. They usually crush the more fragile things as the box makes it's way here.  Because of the humidity, the cardboard of the box gets soft and is more easily ripped...another reason for the taping of ends, seams, corners.

 How long will it take to get here?  Well, sometimes it takes only two weeks and other times it could be up to two months.  For Christmas, send it now.  We hope this helps... Oh, we will be having a Christmas get together on Dec 15th for Bo and Freetown Zones combined.   For the Monrovia, Liberia Zone, we will be there Dec 20-22 for their Christmas get together.  So, packages sent soon should reach all three zones in time for Christmas.

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