Little boxes

Redcoat Kamino is a small Shipping agency, with its warehouse in Crawley, West Sussex. The company has been helpful, generous and courteous to a fault for BTMAT. We have used their services twice a year for the past decade; the last occasion was August 11th2011.

The drill is as follows: collect donated and purchased items for several months; store them in the dining room at 19 Warkton village; sort and inventorise everything; package and label all; stuff the car full to the gunwales, and drive it to Crawley.

There one is received by helpful young men. They help disgorge the car; erect a cardboard container box (1 cubic metre) on a wooden pallet; weigh it; seal it with sticky black stuff; have me fill in the bill of lading, and send me up to the office where I meet Lynn, the Director, to give him my printed Inventory. I am received with customary enthusiasm and conviviality, and we chat over the changing vicissitudes of our lives. He will a few days later email me with the name of the ship which will convey our container box to Douala, Cameroon; the date of sailing and the ETA in Douala. A few days after that he will send me an invoice which is always reasonable.

My little black box always contains items that will be appreciated in our target hospitals; colourful blankets knitted by Sylvia; baby bonnets knitted by Geraldine; baby clothes donated by Anita; essential anticancer dugs donated by Baxter Oncology Germany and Genus Pharmaceuticals UK; wheelchairs donated by NHS Kettering; BNFs donated by General Practices in Kettering; unwanted surgical instruments from Kettering General Hospital; unwanted toys donated by many folk in Nrthamptonshire. There are always a few personal gifts from Tesco and the like, for our good colleagues in our Cameroonian hospitals.

And they all go in little boxes, and they all look just the same.

And they are all received at the Port of Douala by Evaristus, who facilitates the onward journey of our goods to Dr Francine at Mbingo Baptist Hospital. This trusted senior colleague distributes the items hither and yon, as she sees fit. Both Evaristus and Francine email me as to the progress of our cargo. They have never had to report that things have got lost en route, or pilfered, or delayed.

The process has stood the test of time and is greatly appreciated by the recipients.

It is a quite labour-intensive activity; all part of running a Charity, and generally unknown by the majority of folk who help BTMAT.  The round trip to a bit further than Gatwick, from Kettering, is quite tiring, but well worth the effort.


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