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05/24/2010

Challenges of an Admin-Finance Officer: Loading Trucks

100523_20100525_jpf_loading_512  It has been almost one month since I came to Haiti as an administrative finance officer. Today I would like to talk about a background work that normally gets little attention.

One of my duties is loading the truck that transports materials. The day before distribution, we load the truck with shelter kit materials. While it sounds as simple as receiving the ordered materials and placing them on the truck, it can be quite painstaking.

First, the truck rarely arrives on time. Even though we confirm the time of its arrival the day before, it arrives a few hours late. In worst cases, we wait as long as six hours.

When the truck arrives, the first thing we load is lumber. We provide five pieces of wood perpearson, so we count five as one unit and load the woods for the total number of targeted people. Some woods can be of very poor quality, so we have to watch out for them.

100523_20100525_jpf_loadingcounti_2 The next material we load is perhaps the most troubling: CGI sheets. Why? Because we need to count CGI sheets that are so thin, one by one, in the hot container, as many as three thousand! Some are so closely stuck together that it is extremely difficult to count them, and more importantly, one can lose concentration easily due to the heat and the routine nature of the work. CGI sheet loading can take over two hours because we count them one by one, saying the number out loud with one or two other people to make sure that we are counting them right.

100523_20100525_jpf_loadingcounti_3 We also count other materials, such as hammers and gloves, unless the container is preserved properly. This is because even though the boxes may look intact, they sometimes contain fewer materials than are written on the boxes.

100523_20100525_jpf_loadingdriver_3 Loading may sound like such a simple task but it can almost take the whole day. What makes me so happy, though, is the driver who voluntarily helps the loading process. For the truck driver and the driver for JEN’s cars, helping the loading or distribution process is not part of their contract (they are also my French and Creole teachers!). Nevertheless, they offer to help and work in sweat. The pride of supporting Haitians must also be taking root in their heart.

May 24, 2010 in Haiti |