By our estimation, the 14th shipping container should have left Lima by today at the latest and be making its way towards Curahuasi. However, actual events were quite different than our expectations. The routine customs inspection should have been just a formality. For Europeans it is almost inconceivable that 50 phones for internal use in the hospital and 2 new deep freezers for the hospital’s kitchen could turn out to be such a big stumbling block to the process.
Unfortunately, 2 offices that should have submitted the paperwork to approve the import of these donations did not do their job. Consequently, the shipment is stuck in limbo in the customs hold.
So the next move: close to 50 phone calls to various offices in the Customs department. Actually I have much better things to do with my time, but if one doesn’t stay on the ball with these things, no progress will be made in Lima.
Finally, in the afternoon I write a letter to the wife of the Peruvian President as well as the chief of the Customs Office to ask for some assistance in the matter. Right now there is no end in sight to this nightmare.
Looking back, I can give thanks that in fact we could get a smooth release to the previous 13 containers that arrived throughout the last year. Many other mission societies report that the red tape can often stretch out over a whole year.