Staff story: Margarida

Margarida was an APOPO deminer. She risked her life every day to help rid Mozambique of unexploded land mines left over from the war 30 years ago.

I am Margarida Luis Sitoe. I was a manual deminer for APOPO Mozambique. 
I helped detect hidden landmines left over from the civil war over 30 years ago.

Strategic structures such as power lines were mined to protect them from sabotage

After the war many mines were left behind, so fertile land lay unsafe and unused.

Farmers couldn’t grow crops or graze cattle there & children had to stay away.

On arrival we met local leaders & surveyed the land to assess land mine contamination.

Then we began work with machines...

Manual deminers like me...

...and mine detection rats.

The rats can search 200 square meters in 20 minutes. This could take me up to four days.

The rats detect only explosive but I had to investigate every alarm my detector made.

It could be an old coin, or piece of scrap metal, or it could a landmine like this one.

Once I have verified and exposed the landmine a colleague prepares it for demolition.

Sometimes there were many mines - the pylons were protected by terror.

My mother worries, but we are well trained at APOPO so accidents don’t happen.

My daughter is proud because everyone tells her that apopo is helping people.

Farmers can get back to work on their land...

People can carry out their daily tasks without fear...

And children can safely play again.

I will always be proud to have been part of the process that declared Mozambique MINE-FREE!
My family is safe too thanks to APOPO.

 


Thanks to our generous donors Mozambique was declared Mine-Free in September 2015! Now is the time to refocus efforts and funding to clear the remaining landmine legacy in *Angola* before more innocent lives are lost.