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Mulatu Assefa - Ethiopia

A Northern Ethiopian family in the rural village of Lasta is gathering
around the fireplace inside their small hut discussing their day, as
they do every night. One of the older children talks about the landmine he found then threw in the river while herding cattle. Two weeks earlier a friend who found a mine, thought it was a toy, and was killed when it exploded.

The boy's younger brother Mulatu Assefa, was fascinated. He kept
pestering his brother for the exact location of the weapon. The next
morning, Mulatu took the family's cattle to the river. As he got
closer to the river he thought about the mine and decided to look for it.

It didn't take him much time to find it. He took off his clothes and
jumped in the river and grabbed it. He was delighted with his prize.
He soon had a crowd of his friends gathered around him looking at the
"toy". They all wanted to play with it.

Mulatu threw the mine several times but it didn't explode. He threw
it against a big rock. Nothing happened. He brought it closer to his
ears and heard a HESHSHSH sound. He wanted to know what was inside it. He slammed it against another rock with all his might. This time it exploded. In the explosion, Mulatu lost all five fingers on his right hand. Fortunately, none of the other children were hurt.

It took years for Mulatu to recover. His family was poor. There are
no hospitals nearby. He grew up but had trouble finding work because
of his disability. Today, Mulatu works with LSN in Ethiopia. He is an Outreach Worker who helps other survivors by working with them to recover and reclaim their lives.

View the next profile: Aragew Bemerew

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