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A Dramatic Culture Shock

Heroes Remember

A Dramatic Culture Shock

The culture shock was dramatic. We had some really elementary information on the culture, not just the Muslim culture but the way of life in Pakistan and how business is done, extreme levels of poverty which none of us could of imagined until we get there and saw. That is one of the things that I think Canada certainly could have done better even at the time. It was not like it was the first mission Canada ever participated in. I mean we had been up to our eyeballs in, you know, in the UN up to that point. So getting somebody ready for a mission in that part of the world, I get the feeling it was hastily put together, but to actually get off the plane and show up there and realize that you are in a different world, an entirely different world. So not just armed police, but armed soldiers through the airport literally by the hundreds. They surrounded our plane as a security measure when we got off the plane and we flew in British Air. That was a little bit unexpected. To say that they have a road network is a gross overstatement. It’s about a 3 ½ - 4 hour drive from Peshawar, or from Islamabad where we landed to the city of Peshawar where we were living and working and the roads were dreadful to say the least. A main bridge over the Indus River had a warning sign on it that this bridge is unsafe but it was the only bridge across the Indus River and the road we were on was called the Grand Trunk which was their equivalent to the Trans Canada. So when you see things, road kill there wasn’t a coyote or a rabbit. Road kill that we saw was a big old water buffalo and it took up the centre of the road so everybody had to drive around it and when we left months later it was still there rotting away. So, there’s no such thing as well, we’ll get that off the road and we’ll fix the potholes, nothing, it just simply didn’t exist. So little things like that, totally aside from the mission, is what has a tendency to fill the guys’ heads. They’re seeing things for the first time that they couldn’t have imagined.

Mr. Deveau describes the reaction of Canadian soldiers when arriving in Pakistan and the devastating changes in lifestyle to what they were used to.

Jerry Deveau

Mr. Jerry Deveau was born in Middleton, Nova Scotia on November 20, 1950. Looking for excitement, Mr. Deveau believed he was up for a reasonable challenge in life and decided to join the Canadian Forces. Mr. Deveau joined the Army and after going through a personnel selection unit held occupation of Combat Engineer. In 1990, Mr. Deveau participated in his first operational tour to Pakistan and in 1994 accepted another tour to Rwanda as Chief Warrant Officer. At the end of his military career, Mr. Deveau held rank of Major. Mr. Deveau became employed as a Peer Support Coordinator with the OSISS (Occupational Stress Injury Social Support) program, a federal government network that provides support for military personnel returning to civilian life. Mr. Deveau resides in Fredericton, New Brunswick with his family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Jerry Deveau
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Contingent Commander
Combat Engineer

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