Long Overdue Update

The grant submitted to Rotary International was approved in Chicago; receiving the announcement on July 28, we have been scrambling ever since. Writing and tweaking the grant application, then being put on the hot-seat to explain and clarify it has proven to be only the beginning.

The first priority after approval was to finish organizing, packing, labeling and documenting everything going into the container. That big red box left Willmar on its first leg of a journey to Ghana on Monday, August 18. A rain storm that weekend almost spelled disaster for it (see photo of leaning container) as one of the support legs slowly sank into the wet ground. Thanks to Rytel Moving and Storage and Larry Bruss, disaster was avoided!

A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to the many volunteers who did the lifting and carrying so the container was filled to the brim by its scheduled time to leave. And another THANK YOU to you, the many donors who made this project possible. Without raising the money locally, there would have been no grant, no project!

The professional firms we hired did an admirable job, both here in Willmar (Rytel Moving and Storage–Stan Rytel and company) and for the journey (Mission & Relief Logistics, Inc.–Paul Pereverzoff, agent). Thank you for doing your jobs so well!

The ground-work in Ghana has begun and schools are adding security, ventilation and electrical supply to the classrooms they have chosed to house the computer labs.

One of the hurdles to overcome is the international wire transfer of funds. While Western Union has traditionally been the least expensive way to send money anywhere in the world, their recent charges have skyrocketed to over 20% of the amount sent… at least to Ghana they have. Yes, that’s correct, to send $1,000.00 costs over $200.00! So now the flat rates of banks seem much more reasonable. However, just like voice communications, transfers from a local bank into a foreign account 6,500 miles away can be a bit tricky!

Tonight the container sits in the harbor of Savannah, Georgia and is soon headed toward the Port of Algeciras, Spain with an ETA of September 13. Algeciras is a huge staging area where containers are sorted, stacked and then placed on ships bound for Europe, Afirca and the mid-east. We’re looking at an October 7th arrival in Tema Ghana… if all goes well.

More updates to come.

E-Quip Africa volunteers pack donated school supplies for shipment to Ghana, West Africa.
E-Quip Africa volunteers organize collected donations of computers and school supplies for shipment to Ghana, West Africa.
E-Quip Africa volunteers organize collected donations of computers and school supplies for shipment to Ghana, West Africa.
Loading the shipping container headed for Ghana (West Africa), from Minnesota (USA).
A fully loaded shipping container is a beautiful thing! Header from Minnesota, USA, to Ghana, West Africa.

Author: Doug Wilkowske

Doug is a retired teacher who saw needs in West African schools that could be helped by saving what Americans discard. African schools needed computers; many businesses and individuals in the USA get new ones regularly with the discarded computers having a lot of life left. Why not put the still viable or refurbished computers to the need!

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