The shooting stopped a minute later
I was looking at the mechanic I was working with, but he didn’t see anything what has actually happened. I went to see the chief to gather some information and he said that this kind of incidents happened twice the week before. Some guys came and shot at the guard tower where a central African soldier fired back with a heavy machine gun. I couldn’t see anything, because everything happened at the other side of the building and as I found out, we weren’t in danger.
The next day I finished preparing my car
so I helped the other team to fill the truck with basic materials to build an improvised combat post or to fortify an existing one. During this mission, I learned that people in the French Army don’t throw almost anything out, because “it could be useful in the future”. I’ve heard that the Americans called their dump as “French bazar” in Afghanistan, because the French were able to reuse literally anything.
The team that went out to Bangui to build a combat post for the Central African army got into an intensive firefight during the day
A small group of militia entered the capital from the north and engaged the guys working in the building site. A caporal-chef from the team came back with a ripped helmet cover, because a bullet scratched its surface. Fortunately, in these kind of situations, there is always a platoon in protection, so the danger has been averted. The team came back without any casualties.
These small events and the warning shots during the night put the whole company quickly into the mood. The joking continued, but everyone took his job more seriously.
At the end of the first week, we were ready to go
We had a small mission brief the night before leaving and the next morning I was waiting in my car at 5AM with the others to arrange their vehicles in the convoy. I was in the second position with my platoon chief, so it wasn’t hard to find my place.
At 6AM, we went out of the base and waited for the rest of the tactical battlegroup. It’s always a long process to put around 50 vehicles into order. Fortunately, once we reached a town called Sibut, we worked separately with our company.
While we were waiting for the others and the platoon chief was talking to a sergeant,
I experienced one of the most embarrassing moments of my life
I was listening to the radio and following the conversation, when a small kid came around. People around us were doing their life; some were just simply sitting on the ground or going to work. Nothing seemed to be strange, until this boy came to my jeep and started to beg for water.
Naturally, I’ve already met beggars in Europe, but I’ve never actually could imagine that a human being will ever beg for drink water. That was the moment, when I started to realize where I am.