Don't Send Packages

Trip Start Jun 27, 2008
Trip End Apr 01, 2009

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Flag of Burundi  ,
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I've learned in the past week that although for a fairly large sum of money it is possible to mail things from the U.S. and get them intact to Burundi, the postal system does not work here quite the same as it does at home.  Once packages arrive in Burundi, two to three weeks after they left the sender's hands back home, the fortunate recipient gets a card announcing their arrival.  The overjoyed and unsuspecting addressee heads off to the post office, fully believing that he or she will return with untold wealth in the form of books, magazines, candy, peanut butter, or any number of other items largely taken for granted until they cannot readily be purchased, only to discover that a fee is required on this end of the gift's expedition as well, and that the fee is based on the value of the goods within the package, unless no value is declared, in which case it depends upon the postage price paid in the U.S. 
Last week my housemates learned all of this the hard way when 3 boxes came for them.  The boxes, containing snack food, originally had cost the senders an exorbitant amount to mail, but according to the postal worker here still required a 90,000 franc fee on this end (about $85 USD).  Fortunately, in this case, Claude came to the rescue and negotiated the fee down to about $10, but in cases when advocacy comes to no avail or there is no advocate available, often packages are simply abandoned and left in a large room at the post office solely dedicated to the storage of goods not paid for.
 So, all of that to say, if you were considering mailing something, I appreciate the thought, but please don't mail packages because I may not be able to get them.  Anything that will fit into a large envelope would probably be OK, but the cost associated with boxes of any size would probably not be proportionate to the value of the goods inside.
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nblankenship on

Most Impressive
And you still continue to amaze me. My thoughts are with you even if I can't send you snack food.

Best Wishes!

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