Heading off to Mozambique
In the next few weeks, one of our experienced Tanzanian trainers, Shafii, will embark on his first humanitarian demining assignment to the Gaza Provincein Mozambique. While there, he will be working with our HeroRATs, including some of those he trained from socialization right through to their internal accreditation in Tanzania. He will also be exchanging some valuable skills with his colleagues in our Mozambique Mine Action team.
Before Shafii can enter the real minefield as an official humanitarian deminer, he will first need to pass an accreditation test with the National Institute of Demining (IND) in Mozambique. Although Shafii went to Mozambique in 2006 with APOPO, he was primarily involved with training and did not get to experience working with the HeroRATs in the minefields.
This time around, he is very excited for the chance to put all his hard work training mine detection HeroRATs into practice! “I want to go to Mozambique so that I can get an experience in the real landmine field…in the real landmine field, I will be a full trainer.” For our Tanzanian staff, this is an incredible opportunity to see first-hand how important their everyday work at our training base is and the benefits it brings to mine-affected areas.
In order to prepare himself for the challenges ahead, Shafii has been trying to learn a bit of Portuguese, the language spoken in Mozambique, as well as talking with other trainers who have recently returned from six months working in our Mine Action Program.
Shafii will not be making the journey alone. He will be traveling with eight new HeroRAT graduates including his very own rat, Santola. The new recruits will also have to pass an accreditation test in Mozambique, in order to be recognized as official MDRs (Mine Detection Rats).
Shafii enjoys working with the rats and is looking forward to seeing them in action. “I am trusting the rats. I believe they are doing a good job.”
We wish Shafii and his eight furry colleagues a safe journey!