When It Rains, It Pours...Containers

by Jess Cropsey

We are still in the thick of dry season and it hasn’t rained in over 3 months.  Jiggers (sand fleas that burrow into your toes) have been plentiful and there’s lots of dust to go around.  But it has been “raining” shipping containers!  Four different containers will have (likely) arrived before the real rains begin, with #3 making it up the hill on Friday evening.  This one held medical supplies generously donated, packed, and shipped by World Medical Mission (branch of Samaritan’s Purse).  

Originally, the container was scheduled to arrive on Friday morning, but there has been a fuel shortage in the country for several months and there was no diesel available on that day for the truck coming up the mountain, so it had to be transferred to a lower-quality truck which happened to have fuel.  It made it to Kibuye late at night on Friday and unfortunately the driver attempted too wide of a turn in the dark (no street lights here!) and it got stuck.  

So on Saturday morning, John & Caleb eagerly searched the man-cave for items that could be used to free the beast.  Armed with an enormous sledgehammer, a metal tread, chain, tow rope, and the Old Lady (the eye clinic land cruiser), we headed off to see what could be done.  

You'll often find thorns like this on the back of trucks to prevent bikers or passengers from trying to get a free ride up the mountain.

After 20 minutes of scheming and getting things in place, it was decided to call in some reinforcements (namely the nearly 300 workers that are employed at Kibuye on a multitude of construction projects).  

Here is the first round of workers on their way to help out

Some were delegated to push on the tilted side of the truck, others rode in the back of the Old Lady to add some more weight providing more traction, and others pulled the tow rope from the front.  George & I were responsible for documenting the event (a very important, but slightly less dangerous job).  

Much to everyone’s delight, the plan worked like a charm and the truck was on its way to the unloading zone.  Click here to watch a quick video of the momentous occasion!

John was bursting with pride for his baby and her great strength.  This will go down in the history books of the Old Lady, even topping the time she jumped the fancy vehicle from the US Embassy.  Reportedly, she had to tow the truck 7-8 more times throughout the day when the truck dropped off heavier equipment at other locations.      

The photo below shows the container at the unloading zone, an almost-completed maintenance area with different container bays for welding, wood shop, & vehicle maintenance.  In the background (far left), you can see the new laundry area under construction as well.  

Lots of great stuff was unloaded that day -- orthopedic surgical equipment, incubators, warming tables for newborns, anesthesia machines, tons of surgical instruments, backpacks loaded with goodies for graduating medical students, a hammer mill and drying bins for the new Busoma plant, and much more!  

Surprisingly, we also discovered a mysterious box of rings (apparently priced to be sold for $220 each on some cruise line).  Not sure how or why those ended up on the container or what in the world we're going to do with them!  Finger splints (since they appear to be too long for the typical finger to bend)?  

We are extremely grateful to the many folks at World Medical Mission who packed this container and for the people who gave financially to make it happen.  We’d also like to thank a generous ophthalmologist who donated his office equipment to the eye clinic after retirement and folks at Langhorne Presbyterian Church (PA) who packed it all into three enormous 1,000 lb+ crates (one shown below).

We really appreciate the very long list of people who gave in various ways to serve Kibuye Hope Hospital by sending this container.  The equipment will be invaluable in helping us improve the quality of care for our patients. 

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