Why would the word “impossible” still give you hope?
Because an “impossible” situation can only be overcome by courage and skill. And by close and trustful collaboration! This was demonstrated by Hilal from Juba, Alaa from Port Sudan, Kaddidja from Djibouti and – last but not least – the German embassy in Addis Abeba. We owe them all a masterful achievement, accomplished through a high degree of expertise and skill. After over 1,000 km of impassibility – in every meaning of the word – they managed a single point of delivery in Yeha – exactly on time – of the desperately needed containers of construction material.
But what is so particular about two inconspicuous, almost boring, brown boxes?
Flashback? Yeha in Ethiopia (in the far north of the country, close to the border with Eritrea), a small village with a 3,000-year-old Sabaean temple that is in danger of complete dilapidation. Yeha is off the radar and even further removed from the possibility of being reached via any means of transport. It is too far from Berlin (where the necessary construction material originates) and too dangerous to reach by land. Pirates, warriors, criminals and road conditions can mean certain death. Like any other international shipping company, we, too, know that there are complicated missions. But, unlike other companies, we do accept these types of orders considered too impossible, too dangerous and daredevil by our competitors. Other shipping companies might say, “Who cares about an ancient temple somewhere in Africa that needs two containers of special material?”
We said yes, and made it in 91 days from Berlin to Yeha. A four-week sea voyage across a not-always-peaceful ocean was followed by a reception in the Republic of Djibouti’s customs department. The completion requirements made any trip to the authorities in Good Old Germany seem like a walk in the park!
There was endless arguing, entire days spent with discussions about correct or incorrect terms and idioms. For this you need more than just a sane mind. Even we needed nerves of steel!
But our training paid off. The last challenge arose, when we needed to make sure that the only crane existing in a radius of 1,000 kilometers would arrive in Yeha in time. The only thing that would top this challenge would be this crane breaking down …well, that’s exactly what happened!
Keeping calm, quick action and good relations are necessary when one has to acquire special replacement parts for this crane from Addis Abeba (about 18 hours away). And, of course, to locate someone who is able to install these parts and has the time to do it.
The German Archaeological Institute showed confi dence in us all the way through, which was wonderful. We are happy to say that the entire team was once again able to keep their word and provide amazing service no matter how impossible the circumstances.