Container on tour
Our first container, full of second-hand clothes, shoes, bikes, toys and lots more left Switzerland at the end of October 2009. Six weeks later it arrived in Cape Town.
And that’s when the hurdle race began. Getting through customs control turned out to be much more complicated than expected. I now realise that I was rather naïve when initiating "Mission Container". At one point in the process, I began to think I would never get this container through customs. Christmas was approaching and many people in Botrivier were eagerly looking forward to the arrival of the "large parcel". The children had been busy collecting bottles, etc., and saving their points and all the donators in Switzerland were expecting the first photos from Botrivier. And I was left standing there waiting for the right papers.
It was in this almost hopeless situation that my friends here in South Africa then sprang into action: friends who also happened to know people in the right positions who were able to make things move. It all then started to fall gradually into place, especially when a very kind acquaintance gave me his NPO number. Although my own application for an NPO was still in process, the pace of bureaucracy here is regrettably slow.
Various papers suddenly received the necessary stamps. And then the final hurdle: an import embargo on second-hand clothes had recently been introduced in order to protect the domestic textile industry!
But even this problem was eventually solved. And on the morning of 24 December the goods in the container were finally delivered to Botrivier – Happy Christmas to all!
Lots of people watched the event unfold and many, many helpful hands were available to help with the unloading. And the children didn’t go home empty-handed either – after choosing a toy or a teddy bear at the end of the day, they left with a spring in their step. They had had seen with their own eyes that the Point Shop would be full of goods in January and consequently couldn’t wait to go out again and collect more recyclables.
All’s well that ends well!
And once again a huge THANK YOU to all those who made "Mission Container" possible.