KARAWA, DR CONGO (March 26, 2012) – A commercial-size 20-foot steel container filled with medical supplies and other items recently arrived here, a gift of the Department of Women Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church.
The 250 cartons inside the container were filled with 18,469 pounds of desperately needed medical supplies, says Meagan Gillan, executive minister of Women Ministries.
The container arrived following a three-month journey from the Port of Baltimore (MD) in the United States, arriving in the Port of Doula, Cameroon. The container then traveled up river to Bangui in the Central African Republic and then on to Zongo, where it was offloaded onto a truck for the 800-plus-mile trip to Karawa in Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Once unloaded, the empty container will remain in Congo to be used for a variety of other purposes, becoming the property of the Congo Covenant Church (CEUM).
The supplies, which Gillan says reflect “the resourcefulness of Covenanters across North America,” include strips of re-purposed bed sheets “lovingly sewn together by volunteers to make sturdy, reusable bandages. These are used to repair limbs after sprains, strains and breaks; to provide clean dressings for wounds or following surgery; and to fulfill a great variety of other needs in the five hospitals and 60 outlying clinics operated by the CEUM.”
In addition to the bandages, several hundred baby layettes, receiving blankets and midwife kits, all hand-crafted by skilled volunteers, are in the boxes.
Women Ministries has administered the container shipping effort for many decades. “In this new day of collaboration, Women Ministries is partnering with Paul Carlson Partnership and Covenant World Mission to raise funds to offset the huge expense involved with the shipping,” Gillan notes. “Officials of the Evangelical Covenant Church and the CEUM express both the great need and their deep appreciation for the supplies that are provided.”
Despite the high cost of transportation, it continues to make economic sense to acquire items in the U.S. and ship them to Congo as there are no viable sources for purchasing the needed supplies in country, Gillan adds.