Pick a Proverb
(Which seems to fit our experience the best?)
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Between a rock and a hard place.
If something is too good to be true, it probably is! Look before you leap!
Behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining. A penny saved is a penny earned.
In for a penny, in for a pound. You have to spend money to make money.
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
These all can be applied to the dilemna that we find ourselves in. We have a large shipping container (40 feet!) waiting to be claimed at the PAP harbor. It contains donated items that were valued at US$10,000. The customs duty due on them is US$3,000 which we must pay since the SA here currently doesn’t have a not-for-profit status (that’s another long story). Our budget here is tight and no one else is willing/able to chip in to cover the cost of getting the items out. If we don’t come up with the money, they will start charging us US$40 per day storage. If we don’t clear it at all, the govt. will take the items and auction them off.
This all started when someone asked us for a “wish list” of equipment that we needed at the clinic. Felix and the medical staff put together a very complete list, including things like EKG machine, Sonogram machine, hospital beds, oxygen extractors, wall-mounted blood pressure monitors, etc. Shortly afterwards the contact person said, “Great news! We will be able to send everything on your list! We will also cover the shipping costs.” We were sent the paperwork to fill out, including our promise that we would handle the costs of clearing the items. Thinking this would be a small price to pay for getting all this much needed equipment, we agreed. It was only when the items were all ready to be shipped that the company supplied us with the list of what was being sent. The only things being shipped that we had asked for were the beds and blood pressure units. Since we had promised to receive the items, not to sell the items and to clear the items, we didn’t have much choice in the matter.
Felix did a lot of hard bargaining and was able to get the duty charge dropped a bit but there is still the cost of the broker, the people who were involved in the valuation of the items and, next, the cost of two semis to bring them to us here in FDN (75 miles from PAP). They are due to arrive here sometime next week. It will be interesting to see what we get for our investment.
Lesson learned: Don’t accept any shipments unless the donor is willing to help cover the customs duty or until the SA gets back it’s tax exempt status.