Monday the 29th of October came right on schedule. But the truck carrying the container did not. It was supposed to be at the Bartholomew shop at 9 am, but at about 8:30 Gary got a call from the dispatcher in Seattle, asking when the latest we could load was. In a few moments it became obvious that the truck had not left Seattle yet. Apparently a driver who had been expected to be available was not and the dispatcher was looking for someone else. Gary told them the latest they could start would be about 3 pm.
Gary had contacted a temporary labor source and had workers scheduled to come and help. He called them and advised them of the delay. There was nothing to be done but wait. This shipping of a container to Guatemala is never without stress and is unpredictable, but usually the delays and the problems come at the other end. The science of unpredictability has been highly developed in Guatemala and getting anything done there is an exercise in patience. This shipment was off to a poor start, but at least the weather was good. Usually the day of loading is cold and snowing, but today was about 45 degrees and clear.
At a few minutes before three, the truck rolled in and backed up to the loading dock. The doors were opened and the men began to load the thousands of pounds of supplies and equipment that would support our efforts this year in the villages of NE Guatemala. The limit was 54,000 lbs.
First came 500 feet of new steel casing in 20 foot lengths which was donated by one of our supporters. Then other drilling equipment and supplies were brought into the container and packed as tightly as possible to prevent damage. This year again we had many boxes of medical supplies and things for the Ministry of Health and the Government Hospital in Poptun. They are very thankful for our help and value the clean water we bring to remote villages.
Finally the container was full. The men gathered for a moment of prayer for protection for the load. The doors were shut and the truck pulled out. 2 ½ hours loading was just about what we had planned. Right on time.
When the truck pulled into the weigh station on the trip to Seattle, the driver called to let Gary know that the container weighed in at 53,990 lbs; 10 pounds under the limit. Right on the money.