Geoff Hazel - Breaking down the barriers

Running time
1 min 32 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


The big difficulties were culture within the UN. And that really was just a matter because nobody really knew what the others were like and how they worked… one of the things we learnt before we went away, what was precious over there was paper. So, we actually took a trunk full of A4 paper and notepads and all that, which became excellent bartering material. And that also got us in with different people. And we broke down the problems that had been there. By the time we'd finished, with the one exception of an individual, I think we'd broken down the problems that had existed when Bob was there. And that was the one who was the regional commander, he really still had a problem with Australians.

And when I got back to Maputo, I was actually invited into meet the commissioner. And we sat there and had a talk for three and a half hours in his office. And then, he came to our medal parade. And it was the first medal parade that he'd been to in the UN since he'd been there. He hadn't been to any of the others, he'd always sent somebody else. So yeah, purely by just treating people right, we broke down the barriers, and only because we'd been forewarned, there's an issue. We didn't understand the issue. And really, it was a cultural issue. People just didn't understand.

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