A little Machete Work

So there I was, Gitega Burundi, deforesting land in a country that has been 97% deforested.

This was just over a year ago. David Niyonzima, director of Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services of Burundi had some rather important visitors.

A group of ten engineers and architects from Colorado Springs had come to survey the land that THARS had been granted by the government and draw up plans for the regional Trauma Healing Center that he is building.

Derek Lamson and I were in country at the time, and David pulled us from our diverse duties as trauma healer and music director to be the big brother and sister to the engineers. It felt good to be the big kids.

What happened, of course was that we got put to work.

The land in question is sloping and sports a very dramatic ravine. It was populated by eucalyptus trees, which the local women cut for fuel - 'cut and come again' as my dad would say. The surveying team needed clear lines of sight. So they needed volunteers to go out and hold the big counting stick - Here is Derek marching off into the brush.

I got to do cool stuff like carry water on my head and keep the local children away from the surveyor's tripod. One morning, the middle of the week David had to go down to Buja for a meeting and left me in nominal charge. The surveyors asked us to clear some brush for their lines of sight. A machete was found, but it was pretty dull. I asked our driver, uncle Venant if he could get it sharpened. Venant loves to humor me. When it came back it was sharp enough to slice through 2 inch branches like a hot knife through butter.

The rest of the day became me and/or Derek standing a quarter mile downhill till somebody yelled "that one - there! take that one out." And we did the African Paul Bunyon thing. Then we would wait a while for another such instruction. It was hot and dull. I got a tremendous sunburn through what I thought was plenty of clothes. At some point I realized that Derek had his camera. He talked me into displaying some of my bladework. Here it is for you, accompanied by Derek and his Burundian Musical Friends.

I crack up every time I look at this bit. If I had lost my grip on that thing there would now be two pieces of Derek Lamson!

Wow, that is some nice macheteing. I want you on my team when God commands us to mow down his enemies. Oh wait he doesn't do that anymore. Dern. Well, can I be on your team when it's time for the Quaker eucalptus chopping contest?
I don't know why the vid isn't enabled on my pc this morning.... doesn't matter; I was there. But I had somehow forgotten all about it, P, until you reminded me.
HOKAY!!!! Now the bullwhip!
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