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Wish list for container to Africa released

They now have a facility. And a wish list. The day a local committee actually packs a shipping container full of goods to send to a village in Africa is coming closer, and things are slowly coming together.
Items that will fill a shipping container bound for Ussongo, Tanzania, were hauled into the temporary storage facility along Hwy. 5 in Humboldt on September 24. Above, Kisamo Mrisho (left, foreground), a boy from Ussongo who is now living in Humboldt, takes boxes of items that will be sent to his village from volunteer Brad Lefebvre (right, foreground), while other volunteers Norman Duerr (left, background) and Richard Kosokowsky also unload boxes.

They now have a facility. And a wish list.
The day a local committee actually packs a shipping container full of goods to send to a village in Africa is coming closer, and things are slowly coming together.
"We have a building now," reported Norman Duerr of Humboldt, who is co-chairing this local project with Arlene Julé.
The two have spent a lot of time and energy helping the village of Ussongo in Tanzania for the past six years, and packing this container, which will be sent to Africa courtesy of SaskTel's We See You program, is their latest venture.
For months, the City of Humboldt, a supporter of this project, had been trying to find Duerr, Julé and their committee a place to store and sort the donated goods before they are packed into the container. They looked in the Industrial Park, Duerr said, and at the local mall, before finding the old Advance Appliance building on Hwy. 5 in Humboldt.
The building, which is next door to Brian's Electronics and across the highway from Acklands Grainger, had stood vacant for some time, so the committee gathered together with some volunteers to clean it on September 24.
That morning, they also started moving in donated goods from various storage locations around the city.
"We have things here and there and everywhere," said Duerr. "At storage facilities, in basements. We're going to haul that in to the building, as much as possible... while the weather is still nice."
This committee has been slowly gathering items from around the region, mostly to equip the health centre in Ussongo, and the local school, since they decided to take on this task last spring.
"There's been really good support from the community," said Duerr. They've been able to collect science lab supplies, medical supplies, and boxes of shoes and clothing from various organizations and churches.
But now, they are doing the final push for items to fill the container.
On October 3, representatives from SaskTel will be in Humboldt to visit area schools and inform students about what the We See You program is, and what they do.
"The intent of the program is to develop global awareness in young people," said Julé.
The committee is hoping to get young people interested enough in what they are doing for Ussongo to help make teddy bears for the children there.
The bears, Julé explained, will be partially assembled when they arrive in Humboldt, courtesy of SaskTel. The kids will stuff them, and add some finishing touches. Then the bears will be sewn up.
The committee has been offered the use of the home economics room at Humboldt Collegiate Institute for this project, and the help of home economics students in sewing the bears up.
Other people from the community have also volunteered to help with the sewing, Julé reported. They will all be contacted when a date to assemble the bears is determined.
Duerr is also hoping to get local students interested in stuffing backpacks with school supplies donated by the students to send with the container.
"It's a possibility," he said.
In the meantime, while bears are being made and backpacks are being stuffed, the committee is hoping people from the area will donate other goods still needed to fill the container.
Those items include:
yard and garden tools (not electric);
hand tools (hammers, etc);
arc welding rods (a welder has already been donated);
bicycles in good working condition.
eyeglasses (prescription and non-prescription);
shoes (especially sandals and runners);
sports equipment (soccer balls, footballs, volleyballs);
skipping ropes;
school equipment like chalk, maps, globes, pens, pencils;
laptop computers;
a small but powerful generator;
notebooks, both for record keeping at the health centre and for students at the school;
paper of any kind, including writing paper and envelopes.
solar-powered calculators.
folding tables and folding chairs that are easy to transport;
a VCR.
Because of limited space in the container, the committee is asking that people donate only what's on their list, Julé said.
If someone has an item to give that is not on the list, they can call Duerr or Julé first, she added.
Books, Duerr added, are one item that they do not need.
A container filled with 40,000 books from Saskatchewan was sent to Ussongo just last year.
"We have reached our limit for books," he said.
The committee is asking that anyone with donations drops them off at the old Advance Appliance building on Thursdays between 5 and 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. before November 5.
Starting November 5, the committee will be sorting what they've gathered, so when it comes time to pack the container, everything is ready to go, Duerr noted.
Any organization wanting to hear a presentation on the work of Duerr and Julé in Africa can contact either one of them. They are more than willing to talk about their experiences and would appreciate any contribution towards their cause.
Both of them can now issue tax receipts for donations towards either the health centre in Ussongo, or the primary school, they added, as they are now affiliated with the Rotary Club of Saskatoon and Rainbow of Hope for Children.