One Step Beyond – Angola – People – Manuel Soares Ferreira
Manuel Soares Ferreira
It was early in the morning. We had already worked several acres. There had been some thunder and strong rainfall. The rain had leaked into my house.
After working in the field, I went into the bush to cut some wood, so that I could patch up the house. So, in the bush, in the bush. I didn't know there was a mine there. Others make coal there and stuff like that. I had cut the wood very well, and afterward, I stepped on the mine. I had trimmed the wood, the tops and bottoms, somewhere else. I hoisted it all up onto my back. I lifted my leg and there was an explosion. The other people in the fields had left much earlier. There was one man left. He was making coal. He was a neighbor of mine. I yelled to him: "That was the explosion of a mine!" He hoisted me onto his back and carried me away from the spot. Then he ran to the nearest control point. He said, "Listen, there's a man who stepped on a mine." He told them to call the military. But no one answered. So he took me to the control point and set me down by a fire.
I lay there screaming, and everyone who walked by on the street could see me. If it had happened at a different time of day, I might have died. The people there found a couple of canes to build a stretcher and took me with them. I got to the clinic. Then they said, "Here's a man who stepped on a mine. He's already lost a lot of blood, and he'll die if you don't help him." In response, they were told they had to take me somewhere else. But there wasn't any means of transportation.
That was on June 24 at eleven in the morning. On June 24, 2000. Now I don't work. I used to be a bricklayer and a cobbler. But at the moment, I don't do anything.