The presence of landmines has haunted the family for many years, even before Raul’s terrible accident. On the approach to their home, red danger signs shout their warning—identifying the Platanillal minefield that directly borders the only path to the house. In 2002 an illegal armed group had a camp here, telling the local community to keep away as mines had been laid. It has been a source of fear ever since. However, in May 2018, thanks to funding from the United States and the Norwegian Governments, HALO began work to make the area safe.
As Rubiela warms coffee over the outdoor stove she explains how she tries her best to support her husband and children; tending to the house and animals and preparing coffee beans to dry and sell in the market to make ends meet. Their traditional wooden house is isolated and until HALO began work here the family had for the most part endured their struggles alone, the chickens scratching in the dirt and their trusty horse the only company. There are over 11,600 victims of explosive devices registered in Colombia and the government is committed to ensuring the welfare of all conflict victims, supported by organisations like The HALO Trust. This assistance will make a big difference to their lives.
The challenges facing Raul and Rubiela have sometimes felt insurmountable, but knowing that HALO is now clearing the mines nearby is bringing comfort. Soon they will no longer have to worry their children could be injured, making Raul and his family feel safer with every passing day.