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Transport, warehousing, equipment…and some fun in Middle Island!

This is my final entry from the Delta before my contact here in Myanmar finishes in under 2 weeks. I have had a great week though helping to iron out logistics procedures with some games of Scrabble in between.

I set off from Yangon with our regional logistician and another colleague at 5am on Monday morning for our 14 hour journey to Middle Island (slightly longer than the 1 hour helicopter ride used to take :o) We had a sleepy drive to Pathein where we picked up another Logistics Assistant to join our trip before embarking on a crowded boat to Thingankone (our first stop in Middle Island). We arrived nearly 9 hours later to Thingankone at about 7pm just in time for some dinner and an early night!

We only had a day and a half in Thingankone so had to cram in lots of activities. We started in the warehouses; the new concrete floors were doing a good job at keeping the mice away from our rice and nutrition supplements in store. We did some checks and analysis on the fuel consumption and got a start on the hand over of all the equipment (assets) from the Admin team to the Logistics team. Its been quite a challenge to match up different lists of equipment from the Yangon office and the lists that have been made in the field offices…checking through the items though is all part of the fun, and quite satisfying when things at least feel more clear and organised when you leave.

We had nice evening with the logistics team on the big iron boat on the last night in Thingankone – it even involved funny and very long game of eye-spy! The next day we looked at some more assets and got the midday boat south to DeeDuKone. The logisticians set-up the boat service to run between DeeDuKone and Thingankone every other day, to transport people and goods between the Save the Children offices there.

Four hours later we had arrived in DeeDuKone. The small jetty is next to our warehouse so we piled in upon arrival to fill the last few hours of daylight with some more warehouse checking. Things had certainly improved in the warehouse since my last trip. From the warehouse we headed 5 minutes through the village to the office. The office in DeeDuKone is pretty small considering the number of staff working in it. The two storey, steel roofed wooden house seems to always have about 30 people working downstairs in the 5m squared space…and about 12 desks all closely fitted in. We slept upstairs in the ply-wood partitioned meeting rooms. There are no restaurants in DeeDuKone so we ate all our meals in a great little tea shop 3 minutes from the office…the lady there makes food especially for all the Save the Children staff for only 500 Kyats each (about 30 pence). I really like the village life here…there is even a little hut that has a TV and shows films every night for a 100 Kyat entrance fee :o)

DeeDuKone Office

I went through all of our procurement files and edited some documents on the veranda of the office…it was nice working outside and watching the pigs, dogs and chickens coming in and out of the office grounds. Now Logistics is looking after all the transport it was great to see the neat systems of log sheets and fuel issuing that had been set up in the bamboo hut adjoined to the office, for the 15 motorbikes we own here. We spent a while discussing the system and what else needed to be done to make sure all the bikes were maintained properly and the fuel use added up.

One evening after working in the office we headed to the beach 20minutes from our office. There is a hill just before the coast which saved most people’s lives in this area when Cyclone Nargis hit last year. We were greeted at the beach by about 40 lively children who lived in huts on the coast. I had a great hour before sunset drawing in the sand with them and practicing my limited Myanmar language skills.

Children at the Beach!

We took an overnight boat back from Middle Island and had a breakfast stop before the bus back to Yangon. There is still lots of work going on for my last two weeks so I will write again before I finish my 6 months here in Myanmar.

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