Saturday morning. 7:30am. Why was I awake? I should have been sleeping. My muscles were sore, my shoulders were sunburned, I had a tomato face again and I felt dehydrated. Friday night I expected that I’d be sleeping until the afternoon, distribution processes are tough to handle. Yet, there I was, wide awake at 7.30, feeling energetic, ready to start the day. So why not start the day early then?
What happened on Thursday and Friday?
- I’ve learned a lot about distribution processes.
- I’ve increased my speed at removing front wheels from bikes.
- I’ve learned some physics while trying to fit too many bikes in an empty container.
- I’ve worked out the muscles in my arms.
Before coming to Namibia, I didn’t know much about how ports work, how big a container is and how you can move them around, what kind of trucks you need to transport containers and other stuff like that. I also didn’t realize the entire logistics behind distributing bikes around the country.
Unloading around 350 bikes from a container and packing them again in a different one together with some other bikes take some time and effort. The bikes need to be distributed to 11 different shops around the country on a particular given route. In Walvis Bay, the bikes need to be clearly divided between the shops, making sure that each shop receives a fair number and that they’re in the correct order, based on the route of the truck.
Three men, Paulina and I worked for more than 24 hours, split over two days. Man, these people can work hard! Breaks only meant quickly chewing a slice of bread and drinking a glass of water/soft drink. On Friday, we started at 8am and only finished around 11:30pm.
Where did we go wrong and how we fixed the issue?
We got carried away and tried to fit too many bikes. To save some space, we started to remove the front wheels and tie them to the body of the bike. By the end of the second day, we developed a mini-production line: one was cutting the rope at the needed length, two were taking the wheels off, one was arranging the wheel on the body at the right angle and on the right side, one was tying the wheels to the bikes. When that was done, we were carrying the bikes to the container to pack them.
I don’t remember when was the last time when I’ve done so much physical work in one day, if ever. But when we were finally done, everyone was happy, laughing, having a strong feeling of relief and connection with each other. On Friday afternoon, I was convinced that it was mission impossible to finish, but these people proved me wrong.
I can become a soldier now, Paulina says!