This year we have two items to get into Guatemala. One is a newer drill rig that was donated and repaired for service. The other is a container full of equipment to support the drilling efforts and things for the orphanage campus. In November, I was in Guatemala and spoke to the Mayor of the municipality of Poptun. I enlisted his help in trying to get the container and rig into the county without paying duty (which we expect could be about 22,000.00 for both). The amount of duty is always an elusive figure until you are standing in the Customs office. There is usually a “problem” that comes up at the last moment and you are not really in a good position to negotiate. You try to solve the “problem” and money is usually the solution. That is just the way it is.
This year, the shipper arraigned for the rig to go from Houston to Puerto Barrios on the east coast of Guatemala and the container to be sent by rail freight and ship to the west coast of Guatemala and then across the county to Puerto Barrios. We received word that the rig was in Puerto Barrios just before the New Year and the container is scheduled to arrive there on the 23rd of January. When the rig arrived in Puerto Barrios without the container, the Customs officials believed that the container had been stolen in- route or that some form off illegal importation was afoot. The rig was seized and impounded. The locks on the tool boxes were somehow hammered off and the contents inspected. Once they learned that the container was still on the way, the officials relented.
Gary Bartholomew arrived at Guatemala City one day late due to the weather problems here in the States. Literally within hours of his arrival at the Receiving Center, the originals of the shipping papers were delivered by DHL courier. Gary was able to place them into the hands of Berny Leonardo who began the torturous process of getting through the customs process. After some negotiation about storage and inspection fees, the rig was released for about $3000.00, less than 1/3 of the expected amount. Although the tools boxes were damaged a little, the contents were intact.
These are always anxious times for the project. Our precious material is out of our control and any losses jeopardize the project. We need everything we send. We learn again to let the Good Lord protect the cargo and to trust in his providence.
If you would like to help us, please contact Gary or Lynn Bartholomew at 509-466-5075 or 509-466-5134