Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Our Sea Shipment has arrived!

On March 28th, our belongings were packed up in Houston to be sent in a shipping container to Nigeria. On May 22nd, it arrived in the orts of Apapa, Nigeria where it sat for weeks before it was finally inspected by customs. I was hoping it would arrive before I left for Ireland and it did, the night before. At 8:30PM, I got a call from security at the gates of our apartment building asking me if it was OK for the delivery truck (called a lorry, a British term for a medium to heavy truck) to come in with our goods. Of course I said yes and was very excited!
The unpacking started when the lock was busted off of the container with a sledge hammer because the key was no where to be found (it may not have been provided to protect our belongings but I am not sure). Two-thirds of our belongings were unpacked from the 40’ container quickly (the 40’ container was not full). I stood at the bottom of the elevators checking boxes off our inventory while Bob was in the flat with the help of one man placing boxes in the appropriate rooms. We learned with the IPOD experience to have as few strangers in our flat at one time as needed.

The remainder of our things in the container were never inspected by customs and were still in large wooden crates. At this point it was about 9:15 or 9:30PM and we were hoping that the unloading would be finished soon so that our neighbors could have some peace and quiet. Unfortunately peace and quiet did not come until almost 11PM. The delivery men did not have the appropriate tools to cut the metal straps on the container or any sort of crow bar to pry open wooden crate made of plywood and nails, nor did they have a flashlight to see what they were doing in the dark. Our neighbor’s driver let us borrow a flashlight so the men could see while they pounded on the metal straps with the sledge hammer trying to break them. Once the straps were broken they used the sledge hammer to pound on the plywood, breaking it down to rip open the crate. It was very loud and Bob and I were going crazy knowing that our belongings where right on the other side of the ½” plywood protected only be cardboard. As each crate was emptied, it was pushed out of the back of the container on to the ground with a loud crashing sound, which I am sure our neighbors loved!

Once everything was unpacked, we dashed (tipped) to workers, the security men here that helped and our neighbor’s driver Edward who provided the light and helped me check in boxes while I was getting water for the workers. We stayed up until 3AM unpacking, slept until 6AM, and then continued unpacking as much as we could before I left for training in Ireland. I called in to work for a meeting but stayed home unpacking until the shuttle bus to the airport picked me up at 6PM. Bob and many other neighbors stayed home as a strike started that day (see June 6, 2007, Fuel Shortage post for strike reasons).

The wood from the crates, cardboard boxes and packing paper is first offered to our cook/steward and our driver. The crates were taken and used but most of the boxes and packing paper were not.

While I was in Ireland Bob unpacked almost everything and our place I now our home. When we first arrived here we were constantly asked if we are settled. We can now say that we are! Pictures of our flat will be posted soon.

If you ever move here put a flashlight, metal snips and a crow bar in your luggage or your air shipment so the unpacking of your sea shipment will go smoother!


Anonymous said...

I am happy for you guys. I was just going to ask if you found the IPODS? How much fun has it been living in Lagos. I also live in Lagos and go through the hustle and bustle everyday! I can be reachd at 0806 700 6890. It would be nice hanging out with a great couple like yours. Peace, Paul Thomas.

IamMBB said...

Your shipment comes right before you're going out of town. Isn't that the way it always is? Sounds stressful but fun. You must have been torn about leaving for Ireland. Looking forward to pics.