Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cambodian Self Help Demining

That’s Aki Ra’s vision.

He wants to put trained demining teams, made up of locals, into villages across Cambodia. He envisions training a cadre of trainers who would go to villages throughout Cambodia setting up 5 man demining teams. Fully trained, fully equipped deminers, working to clear their own land for family and friends.

This is a radical departure from the way things are done now. We’ll have to see if it can be made to happen. It’ll take time, money and a change in thinking, but it could seriously reduce the number of mines and UXOs in this country quickly. And as the plan is developed it could be exported all over the world.

World Peace! – I feel like a beauty queen!

Well let’s see, I got to the museum late this morning after picking up half a dozen small cakes from the Blue Pumpkin for Aki Ra and everyone. Pretty soon Hourt showed up with lunch. All Khmer food. I can’t tell you what it was, but it was delicious, rice, egg, vegetables, sweet chili sauce and fish. More than I need, but hey, how could I say no.

Aki Ra had been gone when I got there, but he returned around noon and everyone in the place, staff, kids, and I piled into the 2 trucks and we headed off to the river for a swim. My oh my, kids are the same all over the world, especially the boys. They climbed the first tree they saw and started jumping. Eventually they all followed Chet up a tree and most of them jumped, on dares, after Chet took the first dive – at least 30 feet into the river. Then he stood on the bank doing reverse flips into the water.

The girls all huddled together near the bank and giggled.

Aki Ra climbed a tree about 20 feet high and canon balled the river. As I said, kids are the same all over the world. Then he got out and put on a dress so he could change out of his swimsuit. That brought on shrieks of laughter, especially from Hourt.

When everyone was spent we climbed back in the trucks, the kids headed back to the Museum, and Hourt, Aki Ra, Becky, McKenzie and I, along with the Aki Ra kids, headed for a restaurant. More food. That I didn’t need. But my momma always taught me to clean my plate. Bad on her.

Back at the Museum Aki Ra and I had some time to talk and that’s when he told me about his ideas for the Self Help Demining Teams. He’s been thinking of this for 4 or 5 years.

Now we just have to make it happen!

More later -

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