I've been soooooooo busy trying to dig out my house, that I haven't taken the time to even announce the arrival of the container! Sorry about that! I took pictures, so I'd be able to fully share the day, and haven't posted those. Bad Trish!
Here's the way the day went:
The container truck arrives in front of our house mid morning. The driver had called as he passed through the last city before ours, so we had time to assemble our crew of workers.
The container is sealed, after the completion of the customs inspection. The seal is not a lock, which can be opened and shut again without leaving any sign of entry. The seal has to be broken off the doors of the truck. Here is Russell, handling that job, while our eager-beaver, young-but-willing work force crowds in for a closer look.
The container is opened, and the fun begins!
Here is what our front room looked like, as the first box was brought in. The boxes already in the room are items not yet distributed from the first container.
Our crew grew, as men off the street joined us in the unloading. Included in the price of shipping the container we get two hours for unloading. If we take longer than two hours, we'll be charged for the extra time.
The workers drop off boxes in the house, and go back for more. Kirstin is trying to organize the pile, while I try to do some very basic sorting as the boxes come in (mostly just putting personal items in a different area, so they aren't buried).
The pile grows! In the storage barn in Maryland, several different ministries use the same space, so each is assigned a color, to keep the collected items separated. Anyone want to guess our color?
Not everything arrives in boxes. We receive a lot of used clothing and bedding, and much of that is shipped in black plastic bags. Here's Faith, helping pass down bags from the truck.
Hmmm, this picture needs something to put it into scale. Since I don't have a picture like that, I'll just say that the top of this pile is about 7.5', the wall you're looking straight at is 9' wide, and the pile extends from that wall towards the camera about 10'. It's an impressive pile!
Here is the pile of boxes, towards the end of the unloading process. This picture was taken from approximately the same spot as the picture of the almost empty room, so you can get some idea of how much space has been filled with boxes.
Finally, the container was completely empty . . . except for the small Kubota tractor we received. The huge container truck could not be maneuvered into the spot we use as a loading dock, for driving equipment off trucks, so we had to move the tractor into a smaller truck first, and then unload to ground level from there, and finally drive the tractor home.
That pretty much sums up the container day. The entire process took us just under 2 hours. As soon as the unloading was completed, we started into the real work: sorting the gift boxes, bulk items, and used clothing into separate piles, so that we can organize and distribute gifts to pastors and their families.