When my friend was in the Peace Corps, we would send her care packages from the states, addressed to a box in a small town in Central America. Mail was slow, someone sent her cookies in the Fall, and she received crumbs in the Spring. Mail was insecure, if you sent something that the postal worker was interested in, she might get an empty box, or something noticeably lighter than the postage claimed. Mail was also expensive, particularly in those days of life just after college, where $10 seems like a lot of money. I remember thinking about how much bang for the weight-buck I could send her, with lightweight things. (Like the bag of chicory to make Nescafe a little more like Cafe Du Monde).
Here, in Dhaka, we’d probably suffer the same tortures, but for the kindness of the government in providing us the the “Diplomatic Post Office,” a mail program like that which sends letters and parcels to the Military via APO. The DPO treats us like we’re still at home in the states, domestic postage rates apply, even though the item is sent here to Dhaka.
That means we can order stuff from Amazon, eBay or Etsy, and not have to pay crazy international fees. Of course, there are many restrictions on the DPO, we can’t send items over a certain size, or containing certain specific items (liquids, batteries, etc). We can, however, get a 5 pound box of orange slice candy, vitamins, colored pencils, and other things that are not available on the local market.
We can also get care packages. In the last few months, we’ve been blessed with an abundance of care packages, and getting that mail is one of the most exciting parts of my week. (The mail doesn’t come every day.) They’ve been silly things, serious things, foods and treats, games…. all in flat rate boxes. They’ve made living here more possible, and it’s with very heartfelt gratitude that I want to thank you all for sending them. It means so much to me!