FROM ALSACE TO CAMEROON 🗺 1024 393 Sylvie Brunner



As a reminder, each year AFRIQUE FUTURE FRANCE ships 2 to 4 containers to Cameroon according to the needs expressed by Father Emmanuel. After consulting the heads of hospital departments and teachers, he sends a list of the medical, educational, administrative and other equipment needed to run our facilities. Since the Covid pandemic, the pace has slowed down considerably.

In 2023, only one container could be filled and shipped to Africa. It left Illzach-Mulhouse (France) on 08 August and arrived outside our hospital in Emana-Yaoundé on 12 October, where the goods were unloaded.

In the months before the loading date, Françoise and Bernadette worked hard to find the best prices for new or second-hand equipment in best condition for our hospitals and schools. Throughout the year, all the Alsatian and German volunteers collected or bought, at their own expense, a variety of useful items for our schools in Cameroon. These items were stored by the volunteers who packed them in sturdy bags or cardboard boxes of all sizes.

Once again, the Portmann transport company generously accepted to store our goods free of charge for several weeks (depending on their delivery dates) in their main warehouse in Illzach. Michel built wooden crates for the most fragile medical equipment to protect it and allow easier transport. Then Michel and Daniel collected and carried all the goods to the warehouse. Right up to the last minute, volunteers were still bringing in parcels.

Michel manages the arrival of the equipment at Portmann transport.

Fragile medical equipment to be protected: oxygen concentrators, surveillance monitors and phototherapy equipment for premature babies.

All the equipment to be loaded represented an impressive volume : purchased products such as two large electric generators and new medical equipment – a steriliser, laboratory equipment, oxygen concentrators, a blood bank refrigerator, a blood bag agitator, a phototherapy tunnel, surveillance monitors, cardiotocographs (for pregnancy monitoring), ultrasound probes, Doppler machines, laparoscopy instruments, radiant tables for premature babies, incubators, morphine pumps, surgical instruments, anti-bedsore mattresses and various medical consumables; goods donated by hospitals and companies such as medical equipment – incubators, monitors, a delivery table, a double-negatoscope, a steriliser, syringe pumps and consumables.

There were also a number of tables, chairs and blackboards given by schools in Schopfheim (Germany) and Hégenheim (Alsace, France), and finally, all the goods donated or collected by the association’s volunteers – a small generator, a new digital piano and its accessories, orthopaedic equipment, lots of crockery, a mini-oven and lots of books and educational games, clothes, shoes, blankets, plaids, toys, etc.

On the scheduled date, 08 August, both the German (Manfred, Werner and Simon) and Alsatian volunteers (Françoise, Anita, Catherine, Sylvie, Michel, Maxime and Yves) were busy on site as early as 8 am. The aim was to fill a 60 m3 container as effectively as possible, using every available space and distributing the weight of all the equipment evenly –  according to a precise map prepared by Michel.

Each item has its place so as to optimise the available space

Françoise and Catherine check each parcel and affix labels to facilitate the delivery of the equipment to our various facilities once it has been unloaded

Everyone holds their breath as the heavy equipment (generators, phototherapy tunnel, etc.) is loaded

Michel has planned the exact location of the generators and other heavy parcels. Portmann’s forklift operator installs them delicately and precisely in the container

A well-deserved break!

Work goes on, everyone concentrating on their task.

Loading finally came to an end at 4pm, with the entire stock squeezed into the container!

The Belgian driver immediately set off for the port of Antwerp, where the container was loaded onto a ship bound for Cameroon the following day.

After customs clearance at the port of Kribi, the container was loaded on to a lorry for its final  journey to Yaoundé where it arrived in the night of 12 October.

After a 6-hour drive, the lorry stopped outside the Deo Gratias Afrique Future hospital in the Emana district of Yaoundé, the capital.

All the equipment was unloaded manually and placed on a pick-up truck for transport to the general storehouse, a secure storage area behind the hospital. The job was carried out by members of Afrique Future’s staff, as well as idle men who had rushed to help (and earn a little money in exchange for their help). The parcels were then sorted according to their destination.