If you've ever traveled to a really out of the way location, the type not visited by tourists or anyone with even a limited desire for some of the comfortable trappings of civilization, you've seen them. Those (un)lucky enough to accompany you, traveling with bags and bags of, what seems like, fairly regular consumer goods, clothes or decorations for in the house, or just groceries. Not because these people want to resell what it is their shipping in, but simply because the, what you think are ordinary, products, can't easily, or reasonably, be gotten hold of at your journey's destination.
Today, we had to get some toothpaste, and left the supermarket with 50 euros of shopping. For a mere 6 or 7 kilos worth of goods. By doing so, we were saving 50 to 75 euros on what it would cost to buy the exact same goods in the Sierra Leone supermarkets. Indeed, our return flight to Gambia is about 280 dollars and allows us to take some 30kg as checked in luggage. If we'd fill up our luggage with, say, 30kg of cheese, canned tuna, honey and soap, we would more than easily earn the cost of our journey back upon reselling the cheese against the leading rates in Freetown. Weird but true.