Oklahoma humanitarian group's container released from African customs
A team of people from throughout the United States wraps up work on a new school in Ivory Coast of Africa as the Norman humanitarian group 1040i welcomes the release of a container filled with supplies and equipment it needs to work.
NORMAN — A Norman humanitarian organization working to help people deep in the African bush finally received its container full of supplies and equipment this week after a series of difficulties with Ivory Coast authorities and transportation.
This weekend, the 1040 Initiative, or 1040i, is wrapping up four weeks of work and using the supplies for a school in the village of Niamion in the north part of Ivory Coast in Africa, far away from major cities. They will be there until Monday.
The container, which shipped last November, was stuck in customs for unknown reasons throughout the first phase of 1040i's trip, during which a medical team from across the United States treated wounds, performed surgeries and healed infections in the village of Doropo and surrounding areas.
1040i had filled the container with medical supplies and equipment, food, prefabricated supplies, welding materials, trusses, steel and school supplies.
For the second phase of the trip, a construction team is working to put a roof on a school, and to paint it, stock it with school items and provide backpacks for the 300 children who attend it. A wound care team is also on the ground treating patients for infections, wounds, worms and general illnesses in area villages.
“Sometimes we are healing with a Band-Aid, but sometimes the best type of healing is a smile,” wrote 1040i team members in a blog post online at 1040i.org.
A frustrated Mike Cousineau, 1040i's founder, who lives in Norman but is currently serving in Africa, wrote in an email to The Oklahoman that getting the container out of customs in Abidjan and transporting it to the interior of the country ended up costing 1040i about $25,000.