Tuesday, 17 January 2012

No animals were harmed in the transporting of these shelves.

I made a commitment in The Logistics of Transporting Children that I would post pictures of a certain event that happened in El Fasher Sudan. I should say at this point, never hire a logistics professional who has an incident free track record….they are all yet ahead of them. Over the years I have encountered a few amusing and bemusing moments and today’s moment is from my time in Darfur.

Fasher240205 015 by The Logistics Project
"culturally appropriate planning?"
The agencies concerned will remain nameless and my accomplice will be codenamed PAWS…(you know who you are). Paws was dismantling one of her store houses and as any keen loggie I was happy to help her relocate stock and pick up (scrounge) anything useful for my own project. My agency was rapidly expanding and piles of boxes are not how I like to do things.

“No problem” says Paws as she rolls another cigarette “I have some short span shelving you can have.” So a deal is done where we provide transport assist in reallocating stock near to expiry because, frankly, we were good loggies and that is excellent batch control, we would use up stock in our nutrition programme and pay it back at a later date should it be needed. So we duly did the donor specific paperwork; Paws and I thought we were the best loggies in the whole of Africa.

Enter, Abdul Jerez, my colleague and driver. I explain to Al Jerez (the Bell), as he was affectionately known that we need to move some short span shelving. We’ll need spanners and people and a flat bed truck. Al Jerez informs me that he doesn’t know of any available spanners of the right calibre in the whole of El Fasher but that he has a plan…….

Paws and I retire to the shade of an office for a sweet black tea with so much sugar in it, it is almost treacle and wait until Al Jerez returns with his solution. We wait a fair while and become conscious that we are nearing the government curfew. Paws puffs confidently at the next cigarette and we hear the screech of the steel on steel of the gate as Al Jerez returns. What greeted us was a little unexpected. A tired looking horse, with a tired looking owner and a tired looking cart…….

At this point I decided that maybe I was superfluous to this “culturally appropriate plan”. Paws was giggling uncontrollably – and she wasn’t one to generally giggle – and I knew that with curfew approaching I had no option but to let Al Jerez execute his plan and hope the highways police didn’t stop him.

So what did I learn…….always get an outline brief of the plan before you release someone to pursue it their creativity may be far greater than your own.

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