Friday, March 30, 2007

Beware of Landmines!

Anytime you leave the compound you have to be aware that there are land mines all around this area (and all of South Sudan). Kapoeta town was fought over heavily by the Northern government and the South, so the SPLA laid down many mines to keep the government in the town during the war and the government did the same to keep the SPLA out. Many roads and villages have been cleared, but there are still some areas where you cannot travel. Doing work sometimes becomes difficult as you must be prepared to not be able to reach certain areas. Aside from the work that we are trying to do, it stops returnees who wish to return to their home free from fear of land mines. Over 80,000 people in this region live in areas that are affected by land mines, and there are casualties every year due to unexploded land mines.

Thank goodness for the de-miners though or else we would not be able to work here at all. And what a job they have too! They move around finding the mines and destroying them. Sometimes you can hear them exploding the mines that they find. At the de-miners compound they have a big collection of bombs that they have found sitting around. The bombs are at least as big as I am, and much heavier... It’s strange to see these bombs and imagine them falling from an airplane onto
someone’s home!

It’s no wonder the de-miners like to come over to our compound to relieve some stress. A nice surprise when they came over to the compound along with other NGO workers for a spontaneous Wednesday night party which includes charades. I figure any ex-pat living in Sudan should be good at charades since sometimes that is the only way to communicate when you don’t know the language. Lots of laughs were had, and as you can see- lots of Tuskers (the Kenyan beer)


Mike said...

I love this blog. I follow your stories and pics. I've been to Kapoeta and Chukudum, Rumbek, etc.

I have not, however, been to Torit, but will be there in June. Are you aware of any camps or accomodations?

Would you shoot me an email at

Thanks! Keep writing!


Helen in Sudan said...

Thanks for the comment! I'm glad others are reading my blog.
Places to stay in Torit... Try the Caritas compound if they have room. There are also three hotels in town that I know of- Kinaite, Airport View and Flora's place. All of them are not too bad- Kinaite is probably the best. Enjoy Torit!

Mike said...

Thanks for the tips.

Again, really enjoy this writing. Keep up the great work.


Aaron in South Sudan said...

I have so much respect for these guys, I can't imagine getting up in the morning and asking myself,"So what am I going to do today? Oh yeah I'm going to collect and explode UXO!"

These guys are heroes.