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  • Writer's pictureAnnieHartley

Weeks 10&11 - Monitor Mule

This week, your author has been #Trafficking4Tintswalo 🥷

Filling up luggage with 80 kg of donated defibrillators (thank-you again Procamed ⚡️❤️‍🩹) and thousands of dollars worth of equipment to transform them into state-of-the-art patient monitors (see THIS post).


It is unsurprisingly stressful to transport something of this value. Not only because they are worth over USD 10'000 each (although that is a factor 😬)...but also because of the lives that each of them will save over their years* (see footnotes) of upcoming use.

Transporting medical equipment internationally by air is much trickier than one might think.

It is tightly regulated within a complex web of import licences and service compliance certification and radiation attestations, and ministry of health certificates of intention and kilowatt-hour allowances of lithium ion and Article 23-2-7a and and and...

Luckily we did our homework, and I arrived with a wad of documents supporting the free passage of our goods...and it was helped by a few more acts of kindness along the way ** (see footnotes).

However it could still be seized by customs or security during transit 🛃. Indeed, one can expect that these bags (filled with rolled up wires and heart-stopping electrical components) would set off alarms when scanned at the airport, so I put a message inside each bag explaining the purpose and destination of the donated machines.

...and then took a deeeeeep breath and boarded a flight to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

After 25 hours of exhausting transit, to my horror, I found my luggage on the baggage carousel...but without their protective plastic wrappings...they had been searched by security!!! 😳

I immediately opened them to check their contents and, to my delight, I found everything intact and with this message from the Zurich security staff sitting neatly atop the devices:

#GoodLuck From Zurich Airport Security 🛫🌈



* Yes, we can confidently emphasise "years of use" as Procamed has committed to maintaining the monitors, supplying spare parts and providing troubleshooting and assistance over their lifespan 💗.

**Some other small acts of kindness that allowed the successful arrival of our cargo:

1) At the check-in desk, the Emirates supervisor allowed the bags through with no extra charge for the 15 additional kgs outside of my baggage limit.

2) Merci beaucoup Helga for driving me and my precious cargo to the train station!!

It's these small acts of kindness that allow this project to be so effective.

Thank-you to you all.

Please DONATE NOW to help us continue our work.

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