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“Since demining started, attendance at the dip tank has increased by around a third. We have added more dipping days to the calendar to accommodate the extra heads of livestock. Now everyone should be able to keep their animals free of diseases such as tick-fever, which will benefit us all.” Frederick, dip tank administrator

 

Combi-Bus to Chivere

For people living in Zimbabwe’s most isolated villages, the combi bus—a public mini bus that drives a set route—is the lifeblood of the community and one of few practical transport links with the outside world. People use the affordable combi buses for all sorts of reasons: to take their goods to market, to go shopping, to visit the clinic or hospital, or simply to keep in touch with relatives.

Before demining started, Chivere was linked to the nearest large town by just one combi-bus per day, a totally inadequate service for the village’s population of over 800 people. I was told that the bus drivers were simply too scared to make the journey owing to the mines. 

In recent months, however, the number of combi buses visiting Chivere each day has risen from one to four. I recently stopped to chat with some passengers in an early morning combi heading for Chomutukutu town, 20 km to the south east of Chivere. Some passengers were visiting relatives, some were going to market to sell produce they had grown, one passenger was taking her son to the medical clinic, and another was going to buy fuel for the Chivere village grinding mill.

“There are hundreds of people living in this area, and there are ten seats in a combi. At times we all need to visit town to carry out our business, and one combi was definitely not enough!”  Joshua Vheru, Chivere

 

Soon, Chivere Village will be mine free, but sadly many other communities along Zimbabwe’s northern border continue to endure the daily threat of landmines. HALO’s target of a mine free Zimbabwe by 2025 will require a great deal of effort and commitment, but with the ongoing support of donors, large and small, I am confident it is a target we can achieve. Watching Chivere village gradually get back on its feet after 40 years of landmine contamination serves as a perfect reminder of why this effort is so worthwhile.

Tom's photographs are being exhibited at the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in Vienna, 18-21 December 2017.

The HALO Trust

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