A handy gift for Dad

DR Congo, June 8, 2009

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Matthew De Galan/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Leatherman donated several dozen of its Blast multitools to our emergency-response team. They don't leave home without it. Photo: Matthew De Galan/Mercy Corps
  <span class="field-credit">
    Erynn Carter/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Here's my group of distributors! The red strings are the ones cut with the Leatherman. Photo: Erynn Carter/Mercy Corps

About two years ago I found myself in the Democratic Republic of the Congo monitoring a distribution of humanitarian supplies to families who'd been displaced from their homes by fighting. I was monitoring the mosquito net site. Each person was to receive only one net. And as logistics go, the nets were packaged with super strong binding that couldn't be torn. Between three different distribution points (one each for nets, blankets and biscuits) we had one razor blade, which was being run back and forth between the different sites to undo the tight bindings for the supplies.

But then — voila — I remembered my Leatherman.

Shortly before that trip, Leatherman Tool Group had generously donated a set of their all-in-one Blast multitools through our Material Aid department for me and my colleagues on the Global Emergency Operations team. The Blast has 16 tools — wire stripper, pliers, knife, saw, screwdriver, etc. — in one compact package. I'd put mine in my pocket. (My colleagues Richard and Mugur carry the tool in its case on their belts.)

That day in Congo, I used the tool's "420HC Clip Point Knife" to extract the mosquito nets all day long. So we didn't have to run the razor blade all over the place, which, of course, led to a more efficient use of that time and smoother operations for the whole distribution. And at every distribution afterwards, I was asked if I brought my sharp knife!

Leatherman donated more than enough for our team, so I was able to leave mine behind with a colleague in Congo.

We're offering the same handy tool I used then — right down to the engraved Mercy Corps logo! — as part of a special Father's Day Mercy Kit.

Everyone on our emergency team carries one of these tools, and we love them!