How to unload a container of 10 tons of potato soup without mechanical assistance

by Thomas Adelsberger/SHU,  2012/06/14

Via shipping container, humedica had sent a ration of potato soup to the Horn of Africa. The shipment was part of a large-scale donation with a value of several hundred thousand euros that was made by Gefro Reformversand KG with the objective of supporting the relief measures at the Melkadida refugee camp. Some days ago, the shipment finally reached its destination – and hence provided humedica coordinator Thomas Adelsberger with writing material for an interesting report.

The high-calorie soup is easy to prepare and it is an important component when it comes to providing food for the refugees. Photo: humedica

Sunday, June 03, 2012 – Our team at the Melkadida refugee camp at the Ethiopian border to has their day off. Here, humedica is running a health station for 40,000 refugees and the local Ethiopian population with support of the Federal Foreign Office. After an extensive morning walk, we are surprised by the arrival of a long-awaited lorry loaded with about 10 tons of potato soup, which was expected to arrive the next day at the earliest.

The instant food, which is intended for schools and local health stations, was produced and donated by the Memmingen-based Gefro company for exclusive use by humedica. This soup can be prepared by means of adding only water (hot or cold) and it does not need to be stored in a cool or protected place. Therefore, it is perfect food for the refugees at the camps of the Horn of Africa, where people live under exceptional conditions.

But how are we supposed to unload the container from the cargo bed of the lorry? Since the container is also intended to serve as a storage room on our humedica premises, it needs to be unloaded from the lorry by all means – and it needs to be done on the same day, since the vehicle will return to Addis Abeba. However, the crane we had planned to rent for this purpose was not available. So now what?

Let’s do it manually”, suggested the overseer of the 15 men that had unloaded the container completely while it was still on the cargo bed. Manually? For humedica coordinator Simone Winneg and for me, this suggestion seemed highly unrealistic. 15 men, no crane, no forklift, no cable winch – just a pre-assigned space on the other side of our fence. “Okay”, agreed Simone Winneg somewhat sceptically and everyone started working.

Within 45 minutes, the fence to our premises had been removed, the container unloaded from the lorry, the fence set back into place and the 10 tons of potato soup had been stored in the container once more. “Those who haven’t seen this, won’t believe it”, I thought. Despite my optimistic attitude, I hadn’t thought that this undertaking would be particularly successful.

Together we are strong: within less then one hour, 10 tons of nourishing potato soup were moved twice from one place to another. Photo: humedica

The Somali refugees, who since this day have been given this soup at various distribution points such as schools, health stations and transit refugee camps, are grateful to Gefro. From now on we can complement our relief measures at the Horn of Africa, which have so far focused on medical care, as well as the distribution of solar lamps, diverse simple household objects and sanitary articles, by this delicious and nourishing soup.

We would also like to thank all those who make our work at the Horn of Africa possible and continue to support it!"

The people at the Ethiopian refugee camps still depend on your aid! Please support the humedica relief measures at the Horn of Africa by means of making a targeted donation and contribute to improving the living conditions for the inhabitants of the refugee camps.

      humedica e. V.
      Donation reference “Famine Relief Africa
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren
      SWIFT-Code: BYLA DE M1 KFB
      IBAN: DE35734500000000004747

Even a little text message can contribute to achieving great results: send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90. Your mobile bill will be charged with 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica project work.

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