Eduardo had a close call with a landmine on his land.
“My name is Eduardo Antonio, and I’m 77. I have a family. My wife is 70. We live in the village of Caiombo and together we have four kids. They are all grown up now and have kids of their own, making me a proud grandfather of four. My wife and I work as farmers, and our land is near the village, just 2 kilometers away. Every day, we walk to the farm to cultivate mainly seasonal plants like cassava, millet, beans, peanuts, avocado, and sweet potatoes. We use some of these to feed the family and sell the rest to intermediaries, who distribute them in Luanda or Gabela. Additionally, we also sell some in Caiombo.
Before APOPO came to our village, our land was filled with mines, but we couldn’t afford to stop working, because farming is our livelihood. We were aware of the danger as a military commission had told us about the landmines after the war ended. However, we managed to survive and work around them for many years. Once, I had a close call when a landmine that had been hidden for years on a hill above my crops somehow got dislodged by heavy rain and ended up on my land. I was incredibly fortunate to spot it in time.
When we heard that APOPO was coming to Caiombo to remove all the landmines, the entire village was overjoyed, relieved, and grateful. Many of us had been working daily, well aware that landmines lurked around, and some of our neighbors couldn’t even use their land.
When the APOPO animals arrived, APOPO explained that these well-trained animals were here to help us get rid of the mines. We soon saw how effective they were and amazed at how efficiently they located the explosives. With their help, we can now be absolutely sure that there are no more landmines on our land.
The APOPO team stayed in our village for four months. When they left, they had turned our land into a safe place, free of landmines. They marked the areas where they found and removed the landmines, which was eye-opening for us, as some of them were very close to our usual paths and work areas. Now, we can walk freely without fear, and we can do our daily work without the threat of landmines. Our lives have improved significantly. I am sincerely grateful for APOPO’s assistance, and I hope they can help more villages and help to make Angola mine-free soon.”