Long time no spea….blog!!

Hmm – sorry about that! Or maybe you have been breathing a sigh of relief! Never fear though my trusty blog-readers, I am back with a vengeance.

First…the most wonderful moment in work since I arrived…

For the past few weeks I have running a training programme in the use of strimmers to clear vegetation in the mine fields.

It probably sounds a wee bit ‘gung-ho’ to stick a strimmer in the middle of a field known to have landmines in it but rest assured this is no normal strimming!

When I first arrived in Mozambique I was told the plan was to start using strimmers here – it was new and there was some (totally understandable) wariness but having worked with strimmers (and used them myself!) in Cambodia, I was confident proof would be in the pudding, as the saying goes.

So I plucked a few of our best and brightest deminers out of their minefields and brought them into HQ for some serious pre-deployment training and practice.

In usual style, we have perfected the process of using a strimmer to clear vegetation and bush ahead of the deminers over a very long time!

This has involved testing methods, trialling different machines, making sure our safety procedures are rigorously implemented and followed to the letter.


The guys worked hard to pick up the techniques as well as how to look after their new ‘toys’!

We kit our boys out in protective equipment and they even got a newly designed uniform!


After plenty of ‘dummy minefield’ practice our first ‘operador de strimmer’ (there is no word for strimmer in Portuguese apparently!) was good to go.

So day 1…how would it go I wondered? Would he remember everything? Would he be nervous knowing he was being watched by the various senior staff keen to see this new technique in practice?

But it worked! It really worked! He remembered everything he had been taught and was brilliant!

It felt pretty great actually, seeing him slowly but surely clearing the path for a deminer to go and do his stuff.

Especially when I asked the Supervisor what he thought about the whole thing. You sometimes get the feeling they find it a bit bemusing – these strange expatriates arriving on the scene and pronouncing what seems like yet another madcap scheme.

But he smiled and said he was very happy to have the strimmer because it meant he could clear the area quicker now and make the village safe for the locals.

Very happy! Now we just need money to buy more strimmers, train more operators and roll out strimming across the whole programme! Happy days!


1 Comment

  1. Eric Woods said,

    November 13, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    How does Halo allocate strimmers? You imply that if you could pay for them you could get more. True? I might be able to cough up enough for one, as a Christmas present, say!

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