Anneka Rice is alive and kicking

Maybe you’ve seen that movie about tornado chasing? Well, swap tornado for landmines and I could make my very own Hollywood blockbuster.

There have been a lot of ‘Challenge Anneka’ moments over the last few weeks. We came out to the field to do the practical part of our ammunition blowing up training (there is of course a technical term for this training but blowing up ammo is the crux of it all!).

We have working right up close to the Thai border where the densest lines of mines were laid. In some cases having to close the locals border crossing points while we destroyed mines we they had been found.

This is us in ‘no man’s land’ closing the (still disputed!) Cambodian and Thai border! The teams often get called out by locals who actually find mines and stray ammunition left behind after the war.

Look closely at this photo – in the far left on top of the post is a landmine some kids found while they were playing close to their house – their father put it on top of the post to keep it out of their reach while he waited for us to arrive and get rid of it!

Its incredible these kids didn’t detonate it – they call these mines ‘drum mines’ and appararently the children had actually been banging on the top of the mine (which is how they are activated) when their dad saw them!!

So the idea is – you blow it up then go back to inspect its in pieces!

Yup…looks pretty ‘in pieces to me’ !

It’s amazing how much pride you can take in building up a pile of sandbags and plonking a landmine on the top! We’re testing a new technique in destroying mines here…

That was the ‘before’ and this is the ‘after’…

Now, patience cannot be said to be a virtue of us group of misfits and after spending a couple of days playing ‘lovely assistant’ to the boss while he demonstrated the rights and wrongs of it all, we were absolutely chomping at the bit…

we had the theory…we’d seen the practice in action…now come on – surely it was our turn?

There was only one slight problem…believe it or not this country is running out of ammunition left behind after the war. Now the humanitarian in me is sensibly saying that this, of course, is a good thing, the way it should be…

However the wanna-be-explosives expert in me is saying if the ammo won’t come to Mohammed, Mohammed will just well go to the ammo (well – the saying is something along those lines). So, we started to chase!

We put the word out we were on the hunt and lo and behold the very next day we were donning our metaphorical yellow jump suits, piling into the trucks and making off tyres screeching and dust flying (in our heads anyway!) for numerous brain scramblingly bumpy rides down infinite dust tracks to collect up all the unexploded mines, mortars and rockets we could lay our hands on.

After a couple of days we had enough to make a bulk demolition pit to be proud of! And so we did! It was time to start blowing some stuff up…

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