A few people have been asking about that good ol’ container. You know, that container Will (and members of our church) spent hours, and hours finding books for, packing books into, and filling entirely – including the quarter of it made up of our stuff.
Here’s a wee picture of it cheerily packed and ready to go in New Zealand, in June, the last time we saw it.
As you know, that container was shunted around Southern Africa as the documents were found and lost and then found again. Eventually it came to rest in Harare. From thence, the drama of the clearing agent began, in which a man named Wellington failed so completely to clear anything that we decided he was totally unworthy of his job title.
While Wellington wasn’t clearing, the Trust donating the books was busy handing over the wrong papers to all and sundry, such that it racked up huge penalties it couldn’t afford to pay, and began thinking of dumping the books.
At this point, the Minister for Education decided to waive tax fees so the container could come through, and the Trust miraculously found money.
Somehow, despite the extraordinary comedy of errors, the books actually look like making it to those poor, underfunded and under-resourced rural schools we all do desperately want to help.
Now for an update on our personal stuff; we have it! YAY!! The last few days have been spent shoving furniture around in 40 degree Celsius heat, unpacking dusty boxes, and in general celebrating the pretty good condition of our stuff, given the journey it took to get here.
I’m not talking about the sea voyage, I’m talking about the simple 12 hour drive from Harare to Victoria Falls.
On Thursday we had word from Wellington that our loooooooonnnnnggggg awaited stuff was finally on the move, after a month of arguing, scrapping and fighting for it to be picked up “tomorrow”. To say we felt we were drinking from the purest fountains of happiness is a massive understatement. Drunk on joy covers it better.
Here’s the quick version of what happened next:
First, the transport guys tried to turn up in a truck far too small, to save money and be clever. Our stuff didn’t fit, so they were delayed a few hours unpacking and repacking trying to find the right sized truck.
End day one.
Next, they made it to just outside of Bulawayo, and the truck broke down.
End day two.
Then, after multiple and tedious assurances they would be on the road early for the six hour drive ahead of them, they left at 3pm. Apparently, they were confident of arriving by 6pm.
They were here at 9pm, more than 60 hours after they first started the job.
I think we are still recovering from the psychological damage caused by the stress of those 60 hours, and fortunately my mum is a marriage counsellor so our relationship is back on track too.
And hey, the important thing is we FINALLY have our stuff.