Lapilo Tribal supply

We’re enjoying a manageable pace. 4 days between bush trips was just too fast for our family. We admire the Stous family’s endurance and Rhett’s optimism and grit that enabled him to go in while I’m out taking a break.

The last few days have been incredibly refreshing. Time to just sit and chill and time to wrestle with Oscar who is going through a ‘Daddy is the best’ phase. We’re not totally resting though, logistics still need to happen!

We’ve got flights at the end of this week to get builders and materials in (I am going in on Dec 9) and those need to be ready. Our family has 130kg allocated on the flight on Dec 6, and for the first time we’re using tribal supply.

Tribal supply is a small warehouse and a hardworking team at our support center at Lapilo who take care of buying, packaging and sending supplies to bush missionaries. Obviously of you’re in the bush you’re not able to fly out to town to do your food shopping, so this amazing team plug that gap.

We’re first time users of TS (tribal supply) now. Previously we’ve been buying our own stuff and getting it to the airport on flight day. Here’s how TS works: First you send an email order. We skipped this part this time as we were able to go to the store and buy stuff ourselves.

When we’re in the bush though we’ll download the latest stock list and submit an order. Orders need to be done 2 weeks ahead of time 😆 looks like we can’t slack off on organisation just yet.

Step 1 buy the goods

Once the order comes in the TS team pop next door to the store and do your shopping for you. If your order includes fresh produce they’ll drive to the market to buy it, and if your order contains something not in stock in the Lapilo store they’ll attempt to find it in town. Wow, service!

Step 2 package the goods

Groceries purchased it’s time to pack them up for shipping. Now we have our freezer in Kovol running off of solar electricity we can start stocking up on frozen veg and meats.

Step 3 label the boxes and log them in the system

TS supplies dozens of tribal locations, that’s a lot of families! They have a system to keep track of every box and every order. Everything is weighed (since the aviation team need to know the weights) and our box gets fancy ‘freezer’ tape so no one leaves it in the sun! The sticker on top tells you who the box is for, what’s in it, when it’s flying, whose account to charge and any special notes. Every box through TS gets a sticker and it’s a smooth, tested system that helps make sure no one’s veggies go missing! There’s also high, medium and low priority boxes to check. You can tell them what’s highest priority to you and if your cargo is overweight for the flight the low priority items get bumped first.

Step 4 stash them in the Kovol bin

Next our goods go in our bin. They’re logged into the system, so we can send a blank email to an address and we get an instant response telling us what’s in our bin and how much it weighs. TS know what you’ve ordered and where it is, but scatterbrains like us really appreciate being able to check the current state of things remotely.

Or in the freezer

Frozen items don’t go in the bin of course, but into a communal freezer.

Now your goods wait until the flight. The day before the flight TS makes up a pallet of all the stuff scheduled for the flight the next day. Then early in the morning the aviation team check in on their way to the hangar and collect your cargo. At the hangar it’s loaded onto the helicopter and 45 minutes after take off our groceries, tools, building materials, mail or whatever we ordered arrive at our door.

It’s an amazing help to us with some amazing people serving behind the scenes to make logistics of living in the bush much, much easier 😀


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