This morning, Norwegian People’s Aid has arranged a field visit for me to get to know their works. Like Dan mentioned, it would be boring if I stay with just the quadcopter training. Lucky for me though, they have two girls accompany my trip. Not just two ordinary girls but someone who I could get along well and make my trip an even better experience.
Chan has a cheerful personality, she’s around 22-24 years old but she is an Operation Officer with some people under her supervision. Despite her small figure, she impressed me with her driving skill and even more impressive is her co-worker, Sorphorn, a lady of my age also jumped in to replace her to drive that big truck. My jaw dropped, it’s just feel like a movie scene from the Hollywood. Did I mention that all NPA staff have to wear this super cool military-liked uniform? Now you can imagine how cool they are!
Chan was playing with explosive detection dog
After hand pick some fresh mangos along the road, we took our mini road trip to Kaun Mom district in southern part of Ratanakiri (RTK) province where NPA’s target landmines are located. After two days spent in RTK with all men during their training, little did I know that there are many NPA’s women working under the sun and rain in the mine field. “People run away from explosive bomb, but why do you run back in the land mine, Chan?” a common question that Chan always heard from her friends and anyone who get to know what she’s working with. This is when I learn that NPA is an organization that not only promote diversity but also empower young women to have opportunity to serve their communities. Chan joined the team 4 years back as a member of Cluster Munition Remnant Survey (CMRS) team with little knowledge but a strong commitment to learn. “When I started, I know NPA will train me so I wasn’t that scared. As of now, I feel brave and strong as a super woman who can carry UXO and demolish them. I’m more scared of worms, still” said Chan.
When we got to their site where the grasses were just burnt (thanks to that!), to my surprised, five women were waiting to greet us before they start their daily work. A lovely young team leader introduced me about CMRS work to ensure the areas are safe from unexploded munitions. They use the F3 Compact detecting devices to search for metal objects under the ground before inform it to the clearance team if they found some explosive remnants of war (ERW). One shovel in one hand and F3 in the other, they dig and search the area while carrying a strong sense of responsibility. Several hundred people fall victim to explosive objects every year including young children.
CMRS team was giving presentation
Being able to contribute directly to minimize casualties of innocent people, Chan and her team are proud of their jobs and I am so proud of them.