December 8, 2011, it a Thursday, it was cold, the coldest day of the year so far. The temperature hovered in the low twenties. A good thing about the day was that there was no snow on the ground. Another good thing was that the container was being loaded at Bartholomew’s shop to begin its journey to Guatemala.
We have been told to expect about 30 days for the shipping to Central America, but we have given up trying to predict when the container will arrive no matter what we are told. The journey has taken from as little as 22 days to 90 days. We all remember the 90 day trip. For some reason the container was offloaded in a Mexican port for nearly six weeks before it was finally sent on to Guatemala. We were assured it was in a safe, guarded yard, but this was the only container that has suffered a theft. A specialized solar powered pump for a village was stolen that trip; our only theft.
This container is the first one we have shipped under our newly obtained NGO status in Guatemala. We hope that the customs process will be faster and less expensive than before, but there is no way to tell till we get there.
This container also contains some important supplies for the local Ministry of Health. Last year we put on some medical training for the Village Health workers which was well attended and appreciated. We were asked to help them get hypodermic syringes, hospital bedding and linens, blankets and other medical equipment for the local Government Hospital. One of the local hospitals in Spokane was very kind and gave us hundreds of pounds of used but very clean linens and hospital scrubs, gowns, towels, and bedding. They also gave a birthing bed for the hospital and we purchased several thousand hypodermic syringes. The Health department will be happy.
Also in this container is a White diesel engine to replace the Hercules gasoline engine on the deck of the old 22W given to us by Stadeli and Sons.
Diesels work better for us because it is cheaper to run and they tolerate the months of inactivity better. A kind donor sent us a diesel tank trailer of at least 350 gallons capacity. We rigged it up with a transfer pump and it will be ready to refuel the vehicles from it rather than using cans to transfer fuel around or make stops at the station with each vehicle.
We trust the container will make it, but when is the real question.