The whole story about how the container came to be is pretty amazing. The ZVG was performing a fundraising concert at Trinity Baptist Church in Big Spring, TX. One of the church members was speaking to Sylvester about possibilities of donating items from the school. Sly explained that unless they could come up with, fill, and ship a big container, it just wasn't financially the best route to take. Clearly, God heard those exact words. Robbie, a member of Trinity Baptist, and Sylvester began to brainstorm about how to make this idea a reality. Someone donated an empty 40 foot container and the members of the church started bringing in donations. Robby asked Sly for a wish list of things he was hoping to fill the container with. We assumed it was just that, a wish list. Little did we know those exact items plus so much more were being packed into the big yellow container in Big Spring, Texas.
Sylvester worked for months trying to find the best way to get a giant container shipped from Texas to Africa. He called about a million companies getting quotes and working on the logistics to get it across the ocean. The ZVG, several churches, organizations, and friends were collecting the money needed to ship the container. it seemed to be coming together nicely but there were just so many details that needed to be handled on both ends to make it work. It was shipped from Texas to Namibia, across the Atlantic ocean. Once it hit the cost, it was loaded onto a truck and driven to Chainda to be delivered to the Zambian Vocal Group Academy. Because we do not yet have a security wall fence surrounding the school's property, the Board members in Zambia thought it would be best to literally knock down a wall and have the entrance to the container inside the walls of the school. If left out in the open, it would most certainly be broken into. They were even able to build a small room leading into the opening of the container used for added protection and gives more storage room and a place to start sorting.
The Teach One International Zambian Board members spent days trying to get to the back of the container to inventory it's contents. The wonderful people of Trinity Baptist had literally filled every inch of space, so it took a bit of unloading before they could reach the back. You can read more about how the clothes were given out in my earlier post HERE. When Sylvester and I arrived in Zambia in May, we found two rooms full of boxed supplies, plus a seemingly full container. We worked day in and day out to get everything sorted and ready to give everything out to those that needed them. Sometimes we left our kids (5 and 2) with family and sometimes they came with us to the school to "help"... and I use that term loosely ;) When the group of 15 missionaries arrived in late June, we at least had sorted everything a bit and had a plan. I knew that they were willing to help, but somehow I was caught off guard at how fast 20 something of us could accomplish tasks in comparison to how long it took Sly and I to get a few things done by ourselves. This group came ready to work and brought their A game! They painted two rooms, moved furniture, built shelves, painted doors, leveled concrete, fixed desks, organized, sorted, put away school supplies, and literally put the school back together at the end of each day. There were many days that we ended up staying way past dark just to finish the task at hand. They are amazing people and I'm truly thankful for each and every one of them.
The teachers and the students were excited and amazed at all of the wonderful things that came in the container just for them. Someone loved them enough to send all of those things! The teachers are super excited to have access to so many teaching supplies and new equipment. The students are pretty excited themselves to have such new fancy things. They have never seen so much glue, stickers, paper, books, toys, clothes, and games in their lives.
Thank you to each and every single person that made this years mission trip possible. It means the world to me that so many people were willing to pray for these children, to give their time or their money to these children. They all thank you from the bottom of their hearts!