Daddy would be proud

Well Pops, it looks like I’ve entered the construction industry!

The news of severe flooding in Mozambique maybe hasn’t reached the outside world but we’ve had more than our fair share of rain over here recently (ironically after months of drought!) and not only is my the salmon shack in a serious state of disrepair but I now have rivers running through several of my minefield camps, leaking tents and seriously soggy deminers!

More annoyingly access to some of our minefields has been completely cut off from river bursting their banks. I never truly understood how a ‘flash flood’ could literally wash away everything in its path in a matter of minutes. I always wondered whether it really was possible for rain to come down in such force in such volume. I now confirm it IS possible!

At the end of each month we all come out of the field and have a few days admin. The demining teams go home for a rest and the support staff get on with maintaining vehicles, servicing detectors, repairing equipment and refilling paramedic kits. This month exiting one of our minefields was proving a little ‘problematic’ due to the fact a previously dry river bed which we used to drive across no problem, now has several feet of fast flowing water racing through it.

After a bit of um-ing and arh-ing, head scratching and something resembling a bad joke along the lines of ‘how many supervisors does it take to get a landrover across a river…’ we decided we would have to build a bridg. So we did just that!

First you buy as many sandbags (empty rice sacks will do) as you can get your hands on, then find yourself some unemployed folk who want to earn some cash to fill the sandbags with sand  

Then you take off your socks and shoes, roll up your trousers and start wading through the river dragging the filled bags across to create with 2 raised ‘tyre-tracks’ to drive across.


I made my (rather grumpy) bunch of deminers hand carry all the expensive equipment across just in case the bridge didn’t quite hold and I not only had to explain to HQ why my landrover was washed 2 kms downstream but also why it had been filled with $1000’s of kit at the time (not that I didn’t have UTTER faith in my bridge building expertise of course!).

Then slowly, slowly we inched across the bridge – or rather my driver drove and I stood on the other side of the river signalling him left a bit, right a bit to keep his tyre’s on the tracks.

I would have a photo of this last part but as he reached my side of the river he got rather excited about making it over safely, slammed on the accelerator and I ended up leaping into a bush to escape being run over by a rather relieved driver!


1 Comment

  1. December 11, 2010 at 9:53 am

    […] my brief stint in construction in Mozambique? Well I’m reusing all those useful skills as I juggle office construction along with how and […]

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