Posted by Jo Soothill
On Saturday 2 September a dozen club members volunteered at the new RARE facility at Alexandra Hills. Along with Rotarians from other clubs our job was to unload a container, sort the contents into medical and educational resources and finally re-load into two newer containers destined for Amahra region in Ethiopia. A big thank you to Roy who did much of the background organisation in the club.
One of our club's annual service commitments is to RARE (Rotary Australia Repurposing Equipment), an activity that establishes an efficient and effective program for distributing obsolete medical and educational equipment to disadvantaged communities in Australia and overseas within a regulatory framework. Repurposing equipment achieves sustainability by placing obsolete equipment where it is needed, turning landfill into lifesaving aid, dramatically and measurably improving social and environmental outcomes. We include support through packing the shipping container through to receiving and land transport to ensure that the equipment and resources go to where they are intended.
The container we unloaded was originally scheduled to be sent to Ethiopia in early 2020. Unfortunately, numerous border restrictions due to COVID meant that the container was unable to be accompanied and there was no guarantee that the ethiopian government would have accepted the goods.  Three years on, the container was no longer seaworthy and unable to be insured. Further there have been some changes in the Ethiopian government's requirements meaning the contents needed to be separated into medical and educational resources. As a result we needed to unpack, re-sort and re-pack. There were everything from ICU machinery, spectacles and birthing kits through to textbooks, school uniforms and clothes. 
After a few hours of unpacking and sorting we had morning tea and were introduced to Dereje, an Ethiopian Rotarian, who will be accompanying the containers to Ethiopia. Derenje will be on the dock when the containers are opened on arrival to port in Ethiopia and then accompany the supplies and ensuring their safe transport to the Amahra region. We were also introduced to members of other Rotary clubs. Along with local clubs from SE Queensland there were 5 volunteers from a club in Kenya!
We finished our shift around noon and another group of Rotarians came and continued packing in the afternoon. The containers are due to leave Brisbane in the next fortnight and we look forward to these vital resources arriving safely in the next few months.