Finally, my long stand-off with the customs came to an end today when they cleared and released the container. It’s been some long days of waiting endlessly with no time frame to work with. For three days I sat on a bench in the hot heat of sunny Malaba town all day, and with the custom agent parading the numerous offices locating documents making sure they move from one office to the other and coming back with endless demands for money it felt like the next minute brings more anguish and pain than the other. Often he will come back with reasons why the process is delaying such as; “there is no power in the building” or “the network is down. These are the painful realities of Africa and the way they conduct business. To my local contacts here in Uganda, it is the way things work in Uganda.
But now I am relieved and thankful to God for His grace that the container has finally been cleared and released from customs. Even though I still face the challenges of transporting the donations to Soroti, I am hopeful that God will make a way. I have three pastors from villages in Soroti who have come down to be with me during this time. They say that they felt I needed the security of their company and also the comfort and encouragement as I go through the challenges. They said they feel that what I am doing rare and noble and this is how they want to show their support. Today we are spending the night at a warehouse that a friend to the pastors donated for safe storage of the shoes while we sort out means to take them to the different villages. I am guessing we will be here for a few days.