Sea Container Of Supplies

On Thursday, July 22, about 50 volunteers gathered at the Medical Missionaries warehouse behind Linton Hall School in Bristow, Virginia, to help pack a sea container of supplies for St. Joseph Clinic in Thomassique (Haiti) and for our friends in Banica (The Dominican Republic).  This is the story of their work that day.




The sea container was about an hour late in arriving at the warehouse.  The 90+ degree temperature led many to seek a little shade while they waited for the container to arrive.  Some of the volunteers were local members of Medical Missionaries who have helped load many sea containers in the past.  Many others, however, were youth from various parts of the U.S. who were in Manassas for two weeks, helping with community service projects as part of "Week of Hope."






Even while waiting for the container to arrive, there was a lot to be done, including checking on all the contents to be sure that the inventory was correct, and lining up the contents that would be loaded into the sea container.






All sorts of supplies had been assembled in response to requests received from the staff of St. Joseph clinic and our friends in Banica.

Some supplies will serve the needs of victims of last January's earthquake.  Others are hospital beds and various other supplies needed to run the hospital.  They took up several panel trucks and overflowed to the yard.


There was great relief when the truck with the sea container arrived.  Everyone was ready to get to work.

The first thing loaded was a replacement axle for one of the Army trucks that Medical Missionaries uses to transport goods in Banica and Thomassique.

That was followed by a spare motor for the Army trucks.  It was a chore to get the 5000 lb. motor into the container, even using a hoist.

Once the two heavy pieces were loaded, the container was backed closer to the rest of the goods to be loaded.

Some of the heaviest items were loaded first.  Great team work helped get all the jobs done.

The sea container was so big (40 feet long, 11 feet high, about 9 feet wide) that at first it seemed that we would never fill it.

The volunteers formed human chains to move the goods and soon got a rhythm that allowed them to move large volumes in short time.  In some of these photos, you will see the same persons, but often in different locations.  They rotated locations to survive the heat and to experience the many different tasks it takes to accomplish a job like this.

Depending on what part of the container was being loaded at any given time, the volunteers had to select large boxes or small boxes and move them quickly from the storage sheds to the container.

While the human chains were feeding the goods to the volunteers in the container, others were moving new supplies closer to the container for later loading.

It took a lot of coordination to be sure that just the right supplies were in place at the right time.

After about an hour and a half, progress could be seen in the sea container.  It was about half full.  Still a long way to go.

Another truck load, with lots of medicines, was moved into place for off-loading into the sea container.

Supplies were coming from many directions.  Medical Missionaries stores medical supplies in about 10 trucks and sea containers at the warehouse, as well as in two large barns.

Not all the goods were boxed.  Some were tables, cabinets, desks, chairs, and assorted supplies.

They were all fit carefully into the sea container, going into place like a jig saw puzzle or a Tetris game.

After more than three hours of intensive work, it was time to decide what the final items would be that could fit into the sea container.

There was barely room in the container for a volunteer to stand to pack the final items.

About three and a half hours after arriving at the warehouse, it was time to close the sea container for the next leg of its journey, to the Baltimore, then on to Santo Domingo.

Before heading home for a much-deserved rest, the volunteers from North Carolina (left photo) and Ohio and Maryland (right photo) posed next to the sea container they had just packed.

Dr. Gilbert Irwin, President of Medical Missionaries, thanked all the volunteers for their help and explained to them how important the supplies they packed this day would be for improving the health of the people in Thomassique and Banica.
(Return to Photo Gallery)
(Return to Medical Missionaries Home Page)

  You Can Help Medical Missionaries: Donate now to support our clinic or health related projects;  Form a Medical Missionaries Chapter in your area;  Volunteer to help in the U.S. or abroad.

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!chapter.gif volunteer.gif

Medical Missionaries' partners in improving health

Project Hope

Feed My Starving Children

 Meds & Food for Kids

 Project Hope

 Catholic Medical
Mission Board


 Vitamin Angels  

©2017  Medical Missionaries, 9590 Surveyor Ct., Manassas, VA 20110, (703) 335-1800.   A 501(c)(3) corporation.