Shipping And Handling Cost

What’s your traveling mistake? Here’s mine, in Random Sample Review

Dawn Gernhardt
7 min readOct 27, 2021
Photo by Francesca Tirico on Unsplash

When asked about being an overseas volunteer — working for little pay and room and board in another country — people often make assumptions, saying things like, “Oh, you’re a giver!” or “You must be a good person.”

Not exactly.

Poverty, Inc. discusses the pros and cons of the “giving industry.” As for me, like most people, we’re muddling around, trying to be somewhat decent people out in the world. Well-meaning kindness can have surprising consequences. And sometimes “generosity” backfires like an old truck with a poor transmission.

At an airport in Senegal, traveling back to my volunteer assignment on the multi-island nation of Cape Verde, I thought I’d done my solid deed for the day.

Starting at check-in, I stood in line with one compact backpack. Due to my lack of checked bags, I obviously hadn’t stocked up on goods from the mainland — like all the other passengers flying home with stacks of boxes and bags — crammed with electronics, clothing, music, and more they’d be selling at their open-air market stalls and small corner stores.

Allotted two items for free, each extra item onboard cost several hundred escudos. The cost of bringing merchandise home cut…



Dawn Gernhardt

Writer & Editor--currently querying and writing. Nonfiction: Author, Random Sample, & Pink Panther Mag. Fiction: Defenestration, Wry Times, Funny-ish, & Haven.