On March 4 members of the board and lots of help from members of Bethel Christian Reformed Church gathered at Bethel to load the forty-foot container destined for Uganda. The idea of a shipping container was born 2 years ago when we were sitting in the clinic at Zana. Zana Presbyterian Church has a church, a Bible College for indigenous pastors, a small store, a micro-enterprise ministry, a program for orphans in guardianship homes, and a medical clinic for the community.
We were giving Pastor Emma a bit of good-natured razing for false advertising, the clinic sign stated they had x-ray services and there was no x-ray equipment. He stated the sign was a bit of wishful thinking and hoped to get an x-ray machine soon. I build x-ray suites for a living and have access to used equipment. Over the next 2 years it became obvious that x-ray equipment was unrealistic considering the difference in power supply and the fact that there is no power most of the time in Uganda. But the idea of shipping medical supplies for the clinic continued to fall into place and we began collecting a large amount of supplies. Zana is our primary partner in Uganda, managing all of our financial distribution and accounting and the children from the orphanages receive their healthcare from the clinic.
Because of the generosity of several Chicago hospitals and physicians offices we were able to send more than 50 boxes of bandages, surgical kits, syringes, splints, pharmaceuticals, OB/GYN supplies, surgical instruments, blood pressure equipment and even an EKG machine with supplies. In addition to the soft goods we sent 4 hospital beds, 4 gurneys, two-child beds, two newborn incubators, IV equipment, and wheel-chairs. A crude tally of the value of this equipment came to over $150,000.
When we travel to Uganda in June we plan to build a pavilion and bathrooms for the orphanage at Nkumba. By shipping donated modern building material we hope to complete the construction in a week, the money saved by sending donated material as opposed to purchasing local material about equals the cost of shipping the entire container. Additionally we received funds to purchase construction and agricultural equipment to be used both at the orphanages and for micro-enterprise projects being designed for the older children as they graduate high school.
Finally, boxes of clothes from area thrift stores, shoes, and gifts for the children as well as dozens of cases of school paper filled in the open spaces, more than 200 boxes.