I remembered how it felt when I was the person venturing out in on detection missions in Afghanistan, a country well known for mines and IED hazards
My work here in Mali allows me to continue to share my military and technical experience. Co-ordinating the training for the Chadian troops in Tessalit is currently my first field mission. I have to report about the quality of training given to the troops as well as monitoring the detection equipment.
When I started checking on the training standards, I was reminded of myself as a student quite a few years back. I remembered how it felt when I was the person venturing out in on detection missions in Afghanistan, a country well known for mines and IED hazards. I am very attentive to the quality of training because if it was me in their place I would want to receive the best possible instructions on how to manage the dangers often found during their patrols and convoys.
A typical day in Tessalit starts with a presentation of the course in the classroom, checking equipment and afterwards we head to the training ground. I am not the one who gives the course, my role is to be there as a monitor to control the quality.
I really enjoy my work. It makes me feel good because this is my skill – it’s what I know how to do well. My wife jokes that I am not an ordinary husband with a job like this!
The type of person suited to this kind of work would probably be someone ex-military with EOD qualifications. I think it is impossible to have all this training and experience in the field without this passage. Also, life in a military camp such as the one we stay in is not easy for somebody new to this type of job. You’ll struggle to find a Starbucks or McDonalds on the corner, although we do have very good instant coffee!
With the current situation in Mali, there is work to be done. But we must stay the course, and create a good foundation to the Malian administration and make its police and army a strong tool for the stability of its country.