Geoff Hazel - Set up and processing

Running time
2 min 25 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


It was a mess. I mean, the infrastructure was just about non-existent. I mean, when driving from the airport to the UN headquarters, I'd say 70% of the vehicles on the road on that day were white with UN on the ... Well, actually NU, Nations Unities, because it was in Portuguese, on the side of them. At least 70% of the vehicles were UN. When I flew in, there was ... Fortunately, Bob had two people that were based in Maputo, so I stayed with them. And I found a hotel. I went over a week early to do the processing. And fortunately, I did, because really the UN wasn't overly worried about extra people coming in. Matter of fact, they were pretty pissed off that we were changing people over.

But because I knew the systems, I got in and started organising it, because you had to do a two-day induction course. You had to get a driving test for everybody. And while I was sort of starting to organising, I ran into a Nigerian officer. And he said, "Oh, what are you doing?" And I told him. And he said, "Can we join in with you? We've been sitting here for five days and nobody's even spoken to us yet." So, I took him with me. And we then got the package set up, which took about ... It was a five-day package getting everybody issued with everything they need. I mean, I already had the photographs and everything. And I got all the UN ID cards printed and ready. And when the boys landed, I was inside the airport to deliver them to them as they got off the plane.

So, knowing the systems, which is what Cyprus gave me, I got everything set. So, when the boys arrived, we got them up and running and on the way very quickly. And the Nigerians were rapt because they got to do the same thing. It was there in that week was the first time I ever ran across a place where I was not liked purely because I was an Australian. I had never come across that before anywhere. And the Malays didn't like us, and that was because of something one of our prime ministers had said about their prime minister, you know? I mean, that was big, that was a big issue with them at the time.

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