Angola – Marcolino

CAT_4622-MA-ANG-2022-Marcolin-Pedro-Calonga-Village

Now that the mines are cleared, Marcolino can walk safely.

“I am Marcolino, 71 years old, living in Calonga, Cuanza Sul. I remember the war in 1961, when I was just a child. But it was the recent war that really affected us. We had a hard time then, often sleeping outside in the fields and running away from our work. I was never a soldier, just a family man.

I have a wife in her 60s and seven children; my oldest is now 47. They’ve all grown up now. My life revolves around my land, which is 5 kilometers away from our village. I walk there every day. Sometimes I’m so tired that I sleep there. My wife often comes with me, while our children live in their own homes and have their own land.

My wife and I have to fetch water from half a kilometer away because our land doesn’t have any. It’s not too far. We both do that work. We used to have animals, but they died in a disease outbreak. I also have a smaller piece of land close to our village, but the bigger piece of land is farther away and that’s where we get all our food from.

I always avoided some paths around the village because of the landmines. The village leaders warned us about them. I never saw an accident, but I knew the mines were there, which made me careful, and I worried for my children when they were younger. I used to wait for a bus for up to eight hours to avoid the mines. Now that the mines are cleared, we can walk to our land easily. During the war, we only went to the land when it was safe and things were quiet. But after APOPO cleared the mines, life got easier. We can now walk around without worry, both day and night.

I start my day at 7 in the morning, going to my land. At noon, I break for lunch and go back to work at 1. Sometimes, I sleep there because I’m tired and it’s too far to come back.

I’m grateful to APOPO for making our area safe. They did great work. We’re all happy now because we can walk safely.”

Donate now and help APOPO return safe land to local communities so they can rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

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