I know it’s still nice out there — cool and breezy. Maybe you’re still wearing a light sweater… but trust me, the heat is coming! We often forget, from our air-conditioned offices and homes, surfing Amazon, that the mail does not enjoy the same controlled temperatures.
Your packages are exposed to ambient temperatures from the time they leave the vendor’s warehouse to plane-side in Chicago. Once on-board, they get really hot for a bit waiting for takeoff, then they freeze and expand once the plane reaches altitude (you don’t, in the pressurized cabin above, but your mail does). When your packages arrive at the airport in Dakar, they go into small storage units — exposed to the full heat and humidity that a Dakar summer brings. From there onto a truck for hours, and then, after arriving at the embassy, the packages take up residence in the PBX, which is also not air-conditioned.
So — order meltables now! Candles (birthday candles!), chocolate, makeup, lipstick, frosting, face paints, etc. You know what you order that might melt. Order that stuff now and avoid frustration later. Face Paint??#@! Yes — it will still be blazes hot for Halloween. Order metables you may need for the next 7-8 months, thinking about holidays and personal celebrations.
Please remember — no pop-top cans, no aerosols, no flammables — all the usual rules apply. And we’re here if you have questions or need assistance.
We have some more orphaned items — all in the same box, but with an unreadable label: A clear plastic “barrel” of pretzels and what looks like almond milk — a non-dairy, allergen free milk would be safe to say. In an Amazon box. If it’s yours, please claim it.
Please spread the word, too – believe it or not, not everyone at Post has discovered the blog! Encourage your friends, neighbors and colleagues to sign up. Thanks. 🙂
A mail sack arrived this week containing a bottle of laundry detergent that burst. All the packages in the bag were damaged and most items ruined. The boxes disintegrated and everything ended up in the bottom of the mail bag – co-mingled and not pretty. Most of the boxes in the bag can not be associated to people – so we don’t know what goes where. **fun fact — laundry detergent erases shipping label print.
Are you expecting a shipment that hasn’t arrived? And when you track it on USPS.com – it says it was delivered to Dakar — well, then your box might be one of the casualties. There was a box of Keurig KCups (Krispy Kreme flavored?), some ladies clothes, a halloween plastic cauldron, and other items, too.
So, if you think you are missing a package, the next time you are in the PBX , ask the clerks if you can look through the bag to retrieve your items. Again, I apologize for the damage; you can file claims with USPS or work with the shipper/vendor.
And please, encourage your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to NOT ship liquid laundry detergent. We have many “casualties” each year. Please be considerate of others. Consider pods, powder, or other shipping options like consumables, if applicable.
Many members of our community currently work from home or are exploring self-employment options and ventures. Please keep in mind that per 14 FAM 742.4-3, you may not use pouch or DPO to ship or mail items for resale or personal business use. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Kelly Richardson RichardsonKC @ State. gov (no spaces)
Just a quick reminder — if you’re planning celebrating St. Patrick’s day in a big way, there’s still time to order in stuff, but only if you act fast and order now!
In case you hadn’t heard — we’re back to normal! Inbound and Outbound for both DPO and Pouch are flowing normally, and the backlog of incoming stuff has finally been depleted. It’s all now coming in “as it comes”.
So, what is “normal”? DPO Outbound when we get 100kg, or about every two weeks or so. Keep watching the sidebar for info. Pouch outbound (letters, flats) every Friday. If you drop off letter mail to go out, it goes “next available”. So, if you drop it off on Monday, and there’s not outbound DPO that week, it’ll go out on Friday with the usual outbound Pouch. But, if we had outbound DPO that week, it would have gone with that. Personal packages will only go out DPO.
Normal inbound –The new airport has still not completed cargo village, so some processes take a bit longer while they make do with temporary accommodations- combined with a much longer drive to get the mail from the airport to the embassy. So even though the mail is arriving at the airport on the same schedule, it is getting to us later. Know that we move it as quickly as we can once we get it. And, we continue to go to the airport once a week to move things along and keep the mail flowing.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns, or if there’s anything we can do to help! DakarMailroom @ state.gov, or RichardsonKC @ state.gov (no spaces)
DPM has changed the email address that sends out package notifications: youve_got_mail@ state.gov (no spaces) Please update your spam filters as appropriate. And remember, we do not have control over these notifications–they are often sent out in error for packages received previously. We regret the inconvenience.
Great news, everyone! DPO outbound services are being restored. We will have an outbound load this Friday 1/26. So, packages, parcels, gift returns, and letters – anything personal (nothing official!) can be shipped out via DPO.
Assuming all goes well (and it always does, right?), then we’ll go back to “normal” with outbound on Tuesdays, when we have at least 100 kg to go out (usually every 2 weeks). We’ll announce outbound dates here on the blog!
Pouch outbound remains suspended; we’ll let you know as soon as that starts back up.
Welcome back from the long weekend. A large amount of mail has arrived and the mailroom team is working hard to put it on the shelves. Please, even if you receive an email that mail is ready for pickup — please wait until after 3 p.m. so they have as much time as possible to get it ready for you.
Also, please understand. now that the airport is so much farther out of town, the mail arrives much later in the day. It won’t be ready by lunch, like we tried to do in the past. We’re doing our best for end of day, but some days, it may not be available until the next morning. We’re all adjusting to the new schedule.
Welcome back to all of you that just returned from holiday! Let’s sum up our current mail status:
DPO — Inbound — inbound DPO is flowing normally* The backlog that piled up is also steadily being drawn down with more of it coming each week. *nomally — remember, mail travels space-available. With weather delays, and bumped passengers, mail delays are normal this time of year.
Pouch – Inbound — we have asked Washington to start sending pouch, on a limited basis. And expect some to arrive next week. If all goes well, we’ll increase the volume of pouch deliveries.
Outbound — all outbound mail is currently suspended. The airport is still working through issues with outbound cargo certification/status, so the airlines are not accepting it at this point. We are working with Washington and the carriers and will keep you posted.
So, what if I needed to mail something out? We have document scanners available in the workrooms to scan and email stuff. Fax machines are also available in the Switchboard. Many banks will mail checks for you, or have other e-banking options.
CLO has generously offered to connect travelers and people who urgently need something to go out. So, if you are travelling and are willing to take something and mail it for someone — please let CLO know. And if you have something that needs to go out – please get CLO the details. CLO is graciously helping with the connection — it will be up to people to meet up, exchange goods, etc — and all with the “Good Samaritan” caveat — Best Effort, No liability! We’re just trying to help each other out here.
Thank you all for your continued patience. Thank you CLO for helping hook up people and packages, and please reach out if you have questions or need help. I’m at x4202, or dakar mailroom @ state. gov (no spaces).
USPS has announced a postage rate increase, effective 1/21/2018:
The rate for a First Class Mail Letter (1 oz.) for postage purchased at the Post Office is increasing by one cent to $0.50 from $0.49. (But we all use Forever Stamps, right…?!!)
The rate for a First Class Mail Flats/Large Envelope is increasing by two cents to $1.00 (1 oz.) and postcards are increasing by one cent to $0.35 in 2018.
Postage rates for Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes as well as Flat Rate Envelopes will increase in 2018. The popular Priority Mail Flat Rate Padded Envelope will cost $7.10 in 2018 compared to $6.50 currently, a $0.60 increase. And the Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box will cost $12.85 in 2018 compared to $12.40 currently.
For full details and information, please see:
Also, please see the post below regarding our current suspension of outbound services due to the new airport. We’ll let you know when we have new information. And, if you have issues with your Click and Ship account, please see the post below for assistance.
More DPO is on the way! A problem with the ground handler in Chicago caused a short delay – that’s been ironed out. But now, Mother Nature is causing some winter weather delays. But, it really is coming — honest!
Pouch (20189) is expected soon as well — I will post the good news once I have actual confirmation of Pouch in the air and on the way. But since I know all of you know you’re supposed to use DPO (09808) for your personal mail, you don’t have much, if anything, coming in Pouch. 🙂
Keep rounding up those carts & keys – we appreciate it. And here’s to a truckload of mail (hopefully) arriving next week!