There isn’t a lot of JOY in this world today. So we want to tell you a story of JOY that stretches from Thunder Bay all the way to Africa.

The story begins last spring in Westfort. The husband of a MEMO volunteer passed by a lawn with a large spring suspended galloping rocking horse with a sign around its neck saying “Free”. MEMO (Medical Equipment Modernization Opportunity) is a Thunder Bay humanitarian organization that sends medical equipment and humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe where the Zimbabwe Gecko Society, (ZGS) a Canadian charity, uses it to develop self-sustaining communities in areas where nationals are just eking out an existence. The husband asked his wife if the rocking horse would be useful to MEMO. She drove over, picked up the rocking horse and took it to MEMO’s small warehouse on Van Horne St. We stood there and vigorously debated whether it should be sent considering its size and the cost of shipping. The conclusion was ” Send it!”. The rocking horse was included in ocean container #93 being shipped in August from Thunder Bay to Zimbabwe.

This week we were pleasantly surprised to receive this note from Susan Janetti the Zimbabwean Canadian who founded the ZGS. She and her husband are currently in Zimbabwe supervising the distribution of humanitarian supplies from two MEMO containers shipped last May and August from Thunder Bay.

She said:

“We found a rocking horse in the MEMO container which my husband put together. The line-up to ride it was long and the kids would count to 30 before each was yanked off and another put on; a JOY to watch! The photo didn’t capture the sense of fun and laughter because most do not smile for a camera.

I will end on that happy note. Bear with us as we have a month at least of unpacking and sorting to do.  But each day we will bring JOY to many with all the gifts collected in the MEMO containers.

Blessings to all,


-Susan Janetti

Founder, Zimbabwe Gecko Society

As a result of sharing this email, one of the volunteers involved in the discussion on whether to send the rocking horse sent this reply:

“I’m so ecstatic that I was so insistent on sending that rocking horse!! You remember the conversations… My smile is so HUGE my face cannot contain it as I look at the picture of the children lined up for a ride on that rocking horse. I can’t tell you the JOY I feel in my heart. So as always when I think of whether it will be the never ending housework that needs doing or going to MEMO, well guess what, MEMO always wins!!!! The dust bunnies and cob webs will still be there for another day, but these kids’ happiness may not. So It’s all worthwhile and more!

You can be part of this JOY by becoming a MEMO volunteer. We work at 258 Van Horne St.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 ‘til 1 p.m. Phone 627 6360 for information, and to volunteer. Or perhaps have the JOY of donating financially to the $25,000 cost of shipping a container from Thunder Bay to Zimbabwe. Click on the DONATE button on our home page for various methods to donate funds.

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