A typical day 1

Dried fishChicken

I regularly get asked 2 questions when I meet someone for the first time…

1. How did you get into landmine clearance?

2. What on earth is a typical day for you?

The first I have yet to come up with a suitably exciting war story! The second…well here is what I did one day last week…so a ‘typical day’ I guess!

Wake up early to sound of mechanics across the street using an incredibly noisy piece of machinery to something no doubt very random to an unsuspecting vehicle and listen to a freight train pass 20 metres in front of my house which makes the glass in my bedroom windows rattle!

Get up and spend an hour opening and closing the ridiculously unnecessary number of cupboards in my house looking for various bits of camping kit! Find a cockroach on its back in the spare room – looks dead, leave it for the maid!

Open the back door and get pounced on by dog wanting breakfast, feed him and use the moment of non-jumping dog to pack Red Wing currently sitting in the middle of the lawn (the garden hose doesn’t reach the driveway and until I have time to buy an extension each time the guards want to wash the car I have to drive Red Wings into the middle of the garden!).

Drive to friend’s house to drop off borrowed bbq…road closed for no explicable reason so off-road it through the bairro (the shanty house neighbourhood) where the ‘road’ is the width of the car so drive past a lady literally a foot away from me waving hello whilst sitting in bed in her mud hut.

Get to work with a 30 mins to do list…4 hours later still there. Storeman on holiday so dish out various bits of kit being asked for, fill up vehicles from our compound fuel pump (which involves us pushing 3 of them across the compound as waiting for new batteries so can’t start them!).

Sign out explosives for the survey team, sign contracts for new staff, accept resignation letter from exiting staff, sign cheques for accountant. Eventually get on the road for 6 hour drive to next province as ‘advance party’ in setup of new demining programme.

Use journey to have operations catch up with ops manager and brainstorm for new programme. Get lungs and throat full of dust from road…landrovers are notoriously NOT dust proof even with all the windows shut!

Stink Red Wing out with dried fish and live chicken (requested food shopping list from deminers’ camp we are heading to). Arrive at sole guesthouse in town for last night of running water and electricity (experience automatically makes me wash hair whenever have running water and plug in laptop whenever close to a working plug…2 luxuries you just NEVER know when you might next have!).

Shower wearing flipflops (…anyone who has ever backpacked needs no explanation as to why!!), drink gallon of water, sleep!

p.s for more ‘typical day’ stories click here

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