Sunday, March 4, 2012

Not Your Ordinary Construction Site

A new school building is being built at the village. There are many things that one doesn't normally see at a bulding site here. Like the homemade ladders, and the septic tank that was dug and formed six weeks ago, but never has had a lid built yet (it is empty, but it is also an eight foot drop for the unsuspecting person walking at night!).

And then there is the monkey. He is a pet of one of the construction workers so he is on a leash. The kindergarten teacher asked to have the monkey moved to another place on the site, as her class (easily distracted anyways!) had a difficult time ignoring the chattering creature next to their windows. I am not a big fan of the primates, and this guy is not a big fan of white women, so we both try to pretend the other one does not exist. So far, it is working.

But the most interesting item so far on this building site was the bomb. It was discovered as the guys were digging a trench between the new and the existing school buildings. Someone's shovel hit something hard. Looking closer, it was an 81 mm. mortar shell. They tossed it out of the trench, onto the sand. Dave gingerly carried it away from people and buildings and he called the U.N. authorities.

Someone immediately came out to make a report. ("Found: one bomb.") We were told to make sure that it was in a secured place so our neighbors could not take it away. Apparently, this is a real problem with unexploded ordinances. People are unaware of the danger, and take them home.

The next day, several trucks and an ambulance pulled through the gate. The U.N. personnel were Pakastini explosive experts. (I think there might be a joke here...) Soldiers with rifles stepped into place around the perimeter of the area. The shell was moved into the jungle behind the construction site. There was some discussion; sandbags were brought in; wire was laid out into the jungle; there was more discussion; we were all told to move back; a loud whistle blew; and finally a large explosion. It was rather impressive. The blast threw rocks, dirt, and leaves onto the roof of the new school building. We silly Americans applauded the Pakastanis, who smiled back at us silly Americans. The crater in the jungle was about eight feet in diameter and trees surrounding the hole were scarred.

And now all the boys here at the village have a new goal: to become Pakastini explosive experts! What's not to like about a job like that? Bombs, playing with matches, loud explosions! A truly great occupation.

Wishing you a nice, quiet day.