Our small island is dependant on a fortnightly, (and sometimes monthly shipping service) from the mainland. Our freight ship the MV ‘Island Trader’ brings all sorts of supplies to the island, including regular things like food and building products and other items such as jet fuel, LPG Gas and replacement vehicles.
But have you ever wondered what happens when something important doesn’t arrive?
As an example, a local café found their supplier didn’t send the 45 dozen eggs they had ordered. How do you run a café without eggs? The answer is to ask the largest hotel and the largest restaurant on the island if you can borrow them.
Unlike the mainland, we can’t just pop to Woolworths to get commercial amounts of supplies. Our local supermarket is very limited and also dependant on the ship. It would be unfair to take all of the eggs from the shop leaving none for the local population or visitors. The most reasonable solution is to ask for help from another business.
As much as businesses are in competition with each other on the island, they know they need each other to survive ship shortages. A local hotel currently has a ‘borrow board’ in their kitchen, listing which island businesses currently owes them supplies. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the board without something written on it.
It is the same for local families who often borrow smaller amounts of supplies from each other to get them through till the next ship arrives. Borrowing from each other could be considered a unique part of Lord Howe Island culture, and members of the community would expect to be able to borrow items in their time of need.
Next week I have a conference for 33 people. As part of the conference, I am providing breakfast and lunch packs each day for the delegates. All of my fruit juice for this conference didn’t arrive off the ship. How will I replace 120, 250ml bottles of fruit juice? The added bonus is that neither the café, the large hotel or the large restaurant have bottles of juice I can borrow as they are winding down their supplies for the end of the season.
As a solution, I’ve borrowed 120, 250ml glass bottles from a local hotel, and 20 litres of orange juice from a local café. I will fill up the glass bottles and hand them out with my breakfast packs. It’s unusual, but it will work. I just hope my delegates understand my conundrum!