El Contenedor

Published: September 3rd 2011
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We had a very exciting day for our office recently. The shipping container full of medicines and medical supplies that left Oregon sometime in June or July finally arrived to inland Guatemala. It is the first large shipment of supplies that has been shipped from MTI to Guatemala so there were definitely some unknowns and a lot of excitement surrounding the whole process.

It was unclear when exactly the container would be arriving in to our area but Enrique got the call around 3pm one afternoon that the driver was in Coban and was ready for us to lead him to the next town of San Juan Chamelco where we would be storing the supplies. The Municipality of San Juan Chamelco graciously let us use the former mayors office for the storage of our supplies.

Enrique and I hired three men off the street to help us to unload the container into the room. We started to open the doors of the container but had to stop because the boxes were packed in so tight that some wanted to come out on their own. Carefully we removed the first few boxes so that we could open the door all the way. Then with one guy in the container handing boxes down to us we made trip after trip down the drive, trough the gate, up the steps, and into the office. Pile after pile we stacked from floor to ceiling. Teetering towers of medication, medical supplies and equipment filled the room. Of course about ten minutes into the unloading it started to rain, just a light rain at first and then a deluge. My shirt was soaked, and rain was rolling down my face and arms as I carried stack after stack of boxes.

After we unloaded the first segment of boxes the next section was nicely stacked and shrink-wrapped on a pallet. Too bad my forklift driving skills couldn’t come in handy here. Instead we just cut through the shrink-wrap and continued unloading by hand. About an hour and a half later some of our field staff workers returned from their meetings in the community to help us and about an hour after that we were carrying the last pair of crutches into the now packed office space in the municipal building.

We retuned about a week later to begin the process of organizing all of the supplies. This consisted of taking all of the boxes out of the room and grouping them into piles of similarity and once the room was cleared we carried all of the boxes back into the room and placed them according to type. These were a few long and exhausting days but it is great to see all of the supplies and equipment that will be donated to the local hospitals and clinics.

Additional photos below
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Fernando gets a little help from Jorge and Carlos so that we can add the final boxes to the stack of infection control supplies.

I know it may not look that different but this is organized.

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