Landmines are usually something one would try to avoid. But recently I met people who look for them on purpose! They are often on their hands and knees with small shovels and wearing protective plating and helmets. These are the brave and courageous staff of the demining organization, HALO.
I had the opportunity to spend a few days with staff from HALO on a recent series of flights in collaboration with MAF Angola. This also allowed me the experience of taking our Pilatus PC12 from its normal home turf in western Democratic Republic of the Congo to the neighboring nation of Angola.
The team and delegation were to be picked up in Luanda and taken to the city of Huambo where HALO was having a big celebration and awareness campaign. It coincided with the anniversary of Princess Dianna’s trip to Huambo when she publicly walked through a mine site to bring global attention to the need for landmine removal. This rebel action of hers 20 years ago helped enormous fundraising efforts and personnel movement to do the delicate task of safely removing anti-people and anti-tank mines leftover from years of war all throughout the world.
The trip was amazing and mostly because, as the token pilots, we were part of the delegation who visited schools, demining training sites, and memorials. We even witnessed an explosion (fully contained and safe) of old mines so as to properly dispose of them.
It never ceases to amaze me that God allows MAF to be a part of so many diverse things. From a VIP delegate one week to a local church pastor the next—same seat, same airplane, and only I know of their connection. God unites through MAF’s vast network.