Project Phongsali 2013: Often, Women Who Lead Us To Ordnance Insist On Bringing Someone Else Along.

March 16, 2013

When providing villagers with “rapid response” to their discovery of dangerous ordnance we sometimes face a dilemma rooted in the cultural practices of the village.  It’s women and girls who find much of the ordnance that we are asked to destroy.  It follows then that, often, it’s a female who must lead our mostly male team to the item.  But…in many communities it is considered inappropriate for woman and girls to go anywhere unaccompanied with a strange man.  As a consequence, a woman who want us to see ordnance will usually insist on taking a neighbor, a friend or even an infant along, thereby  keeping her reputation above reproach.

From our point of view the fewer people put at risk the better.  We especially feel ill at ease when the chosen “chaperone” is a child who might accidentally disturb a piece of ordnance.

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