Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Transport Stuff Cheaply to El Pavo

When we donate classroom equipment or school supplies or school uniforms, transportation is usually 15% to 20% of the project’s cost. The standard fee for a small truck to transport us and the donated items to any village within 50 km of Chiclayo is from $70 to $90.  We have a couple of friends who own trucks but even they charge us $70, explaining that they’d be losing money if they did it for less. Maybe so, but every time I look at the project receipts and see the one for transportation it bothers me. We didn’t have a lot to deliver to El Pavo today so we made up our minds to find a cheaper method.

A neighbor has an older station wagon with a good sized rack on top. The rack was big enough to hold a whiteboard. Everything else could fit in the back. He said he would take us to the city of Tùcume for $18 but would not go to El Pavo because of the poor roads. El Pavo is only 1 ½ miles from Tùcume so we accepted his offer. In Tùcume we unloaded our stuff on the side of the road, and I stood guard while Maribel went to pick up the tables a local carpenter had built. I assumed that we would need a convoy of at least 3 motos to transport our stuff to El Pavo. I was wrong.

This guy insisted he could get everything on his moto. And he did. There is a whiteboard, 25 chairs, 5 tables and 2 storage shelves tied to his moto. It was not the most comfortable ride we’ve ever had, but we got to El Pavo without damaging or losing anything. He charged us $7, which included waiting for us and taking us back to Tùcume.

When we arrived at El Pavo the villagers were waiting for us. Almost before we got out of the moto some of the women were carrying tables, and the kids were hurrying to help.  

The kids made a game of carrying the chairs. They were squealing and laughing and trying to see who could carry the most chairs and make the most trips. One of them told Maribel it wasn’t her job when she lifted some chairs.

I’m sure their excitement won’t last long, but they really enjoyed arranging and sitting at the new tables in their new chairs.

This is an example of what we have replaced… chairs held together with string. We’re going to feel a lot better knowing that there won’t be any more chair or table legs collapsing under the kids.

The villagers and kids were grateful for what they were given. As we were leaving we were given a hand-made basket filled with fresh picked peas and corn, and a box containing a cooked chicken.

So how did we do on the transportation cost? The combi ride back to Chiclayo was $2, for a grand total of $27 – a savings of $43. That, plus Maribel negotiating a frequent buyer discount on the whiteboard brought the entire project cost to $378… a full $72 under the $450 budget.

Our thanks to David P., Chris R., the Alice Cool Foundation and others for making this project possible.

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