The combine was successfully unloaded at Kisolanza, near Iringa, at the service facility of LONAGRO, the Tanzania John Deere dealer. This all happened on Monday, two days after it arrived in Iringa!
The container was released from the port on Friday, June 5, and the truck left that same evening, driving all night to get to Iringa by Saturday morning. The past two weeks have been a difficult experience… navigating the many bureaucratic pitfalls of the clearing process in a port such as Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We are very thankful that Ray Menard and his assistant in Dar es Salaam, Jerry Diaz, were able to meet with our agency, Bollore, to work out a reasonable solution to several problems…a great job, Ray and Jerry!
This week the container will be unloaded with the assistance of LONAGRO, the John Deere dealer in Tanzania where it will be stored for Steve Strehlow to supervise the reassembly. We thank the LONAGRO people for their help at this critical point in the whole project.
This morning I received emails confirming that our combine is ready to be shipped by road to Iringa/Kisolanza. The last couple of days have been upsetting as more confusing bureaucratic mistakes and misinformation from Bollore popped up; but now it seems they have finally gotten their act together(maybe with a little prodding from the head office in South Africa!) and they are telling Jerry Diaz, Cheetah's man in Dar(who is actually now in Iringa temporarily) that the truck with our container will be leaving Dar on Saturday morning...late Friday night our time...
I have requested Bollore send me a digital photo of the container on the truck ready to depart for Iringa; if I receive it I will post it on the Harvesters of Hope part of our website at church...with an update.
The LONAGRO(John Deere dealer) people have been informed of the proceedings and we expect they will be able to offload the combine when it gets to their service facility at Kisolanza; Cheetah people from the Iringa office will be present when the combine is offloaded at Kisolanza to keep an eye on everything...
Our combine in a box has been in the port since Saturday, May 23rd and is now nearly through the clearing process. Yesterday we received a copy of the last piece of paper form the Tanzanian government confirming the numbers Ray had negotiated with Bollore, our agency at the port. Bollore is now making final arrangements for the truck that is going to take the container to Iringa. Jerry Diaz, Ray's guy in Dar, estimated yesterday that the container could be leaving the port by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest...
Thank you for all for your prayers and concerns! It was a miracle that Ray was available just when we needed him to go and meet face to face with the people from Bollore that were giving us a hard time. Plus, I think the Dar office got some heat from their South Africa headquarters about what they were doing(or NOT doing)...in any case, when Ray met with them, they worked out a solution that was acceptable to all concerned. It will cost Cheetah something over and above the $3293 we sent them from our Harvesters of Hope account at church...but not an unreasonable amount.
So we fully expect to be able to report very soon that the container is on the truck and on its way to Iringa(Kisolanza).. The John Deere people have been notified so that they will ready to unload the combine when it arrives...
We have requested the Bollore people to take a snap shot(digitally) of our container once it is loaded aboard the truck at the port...and send it to us. Jerry Diaz or someone from the Cheetah office in Iringa will take some photos of the container when it arrives...so we should have some images for our website soon.
I talked with Ray yesterday by phone; he is here in the USA for meetings, with donors, and other fundraising activities. He will be returning to TZ for several weeks around the July 4th time frame.
He said the harvest is already beginning as the weather has been dry earlier than usual, so the combine will be put to work as soon as it is put together and tested. People in the village cooperatives have been informed of the coming of the combine and so there is a lot of anticipation for its coming...
Thank you all again or your participation in this great effort!
Paul and Shirley Bolstad have been members of Our Father's Lutheran Church since the early 90's.