For those of you who don't follow Maisha Kamili, we have reached our initial fundraising goal and will be moving to Kenya on February 29. Fundraising is ongoing, as we don't yet have enough to buy land or build the children's home. We do have enough to establish ourselves in country and begin looking for a location.
We looked into the cost of shipping a palette or crate of our stuff over there. We learned that it is cheaper to buy all new furniture (and stuff!) in Kenya. Our luggage allowance is 2 51-lb checked bags each for Rodgers, Nate, and myself and 1 20ish-lb checked bag for Ben (he doesn't have his own seat). All of us get one carry-on bag and one "personal item." This sounds like a lot of bags until you consider that this will be *all* of our possessions that we're taking with us. I much prefer traveling light, with only bare minimum essentials, but our bare minimum is quite a bit more this time than if we were just taking a trip.
As the mom and wife, it is my job to organize, plan, test, and pack. We have 2 checked bags planned, test packed, weighed, and repacked. We have 2 checked bags that are partially packed, but not completely because we are still using some things that will go in them. And the remaining 2 checked bags plus the carry-ons are thus far only planned. We aren't planning to use Ben's checked bag allowance, but we do have a bag set aside just in case we have an extra 20 lbs of stuff we want to take with us. It's also possible we may prioritize one or two bags as "nice to have" rather than "essential" and leave them with someone to bring to us. This would make transferring terminals in Nairobi less stressful.
Three scenarios for when we arrive:
Scenario 1, which has been our Plan A, is to have a rent house waiting for us when we land. Our nephew will secure it on our behalf and put a bed and a case of bottled water in it for us so that we can survive the first night (we arrive around midnight). Day 1 in Kenya, we have to get phones and internet connection, buy a refrigerator, stove, beds for the boys, basic cookware, dishes, cutlery, and linens. The remainder of the week would be spent shopping for the next-highest priority appliances, furniture, and furnishings.
Scenario 2, which is looking better and better, is that we go to a hotel when we first get there. In this scenario we don't have to do so much shopping right off the bat, but we would have to move again once we have a rent house, and of course we'd have expenses for the hotel. However, we would be able to see and choose the rent house ourselves. We could stay in the hotel for the first few days we have the rent house so that we can get essentials moved in before we move ourselves in.
Scenario 3 would be like scenario 2, except that we'd live with someone. Living with people is not preferred, but it is cheaper than a hotel!