Last night the two guys from the moving company came and did a survey. They said that everything (contents of a 4 bedroom house with kitchen and living room for two adults) could fit into a small container with room to spare. With all our books and sports equipment and two couches, two beds, and a chock-full kitchen? Yep. Especially since we're not bringing the fridge or stove/oven (belongs to the landlord) and are selling some items like two bookcases.
Even though we've been steadily purging, it didn't really hit me that we're leaving until I gave away my plants. That's the only category of "stuff" that I'd like to keep but obviously can't.
Dealing with the entourage is the worst. I told the housekeeper and the driver that I'll submit their info to the embassy newsletter's household help section, and we're giving them a month's extra salary. I hadn't thought about the guards though since they are agency employees. Until last night when one of them asked me to request that they work in the office complex until my replacement arrives. Apparently both of them (they rotate night and day duty) are stressed about our departure. I tried to reassure them though that they'd be retained for my replacement but I guess I wasn't convincing enough. I wrote an email this morning asking that they be kept on until my replacement is recruited. It's the least I could do.
I can't stand the news about Lebanon but I was struck personally by the following. Today's Washington Post features an article on people's reluctance to donate to Islamic NGOs for fear of getting onto some USG watchlist. Sad, although it confirms my "give money, not stuff" mantra whenever people ask me about donating. And of course there are my Filipino compatriots (and those of other nations) stuck in Lebanon. In fact, one of the few Filipinos I know here in Ouaga is a woman who married a Burkinabé she met while working in Lebanon. You can definitely see with the Lebanese merchants in town how stressful the whole situation is since so many family members traveled to Lebanon and are apparently still there.