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Bangkok Post: Many Hmong refugees from Wat Tham Krabok will remember Phra Gordon, “the black monk”.

April 24, 2011
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Bangkok Post: Many Hmong refugees from Wat Tham Krabok will remember Phra Gordon, “the black monk”.

Bangkok Post 24/4/11 Mercenary turned monk passes away A former United States soldier of fortune who later became a monk in Thailand and helped hundreds of people overcome alcohol and drug addictions at the world famous Wat Tham Krabok in Saraburi has passed away. A spokesman for the temple said Phra Gordon, also known...
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Project Phongsali 2011: Of necessity, villagers turn to local experts who make bombs safe (and sometimes turn a profit.)

March 18, 2011
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Project Phongsali 2011: Of necessity, villagers turn to local experts who make bombs safe (and sometimes turn a profit.)

Week Six Day Forty-Two Throughout Laos, in districts contaminated with UXO, just about every village has a resident bomb expert. It’s not an official position sanctioned by government; there’s no license required, no formal apprenticeship. It’s a distinction conferred by public approbation based upon observed deeds. Like membership on the US Supreme Court, the...
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Project Phongsali 2011: I take a six year old’s approach. “I’ve never eaten a lizard because I know I won’t like it”.

March 17, 2011
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Project Phongsali 2011: I take a six year old’s approach.  “I’ve never eaten a lizard because I know I won’t like it”.

Week Six Day Forty-One A lady tried to sell me a lizard. The fact that I knew there were live lizards in the arm-long bamboo tube that she carried, that they were hale and hardy, that they were nutritious and beneficial to health, that they were for sale at a good price, and that...
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Project Phongsali 2011: Equipment rumbles through town known to have bombs. Children dig in uncleared soil.

March 16, 2011
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Project Phongsali 2011: Equipment rumbles through town known to have bombs.  Children dig in uncleared soil.

Week Six Day Forty The Lao Construction Consortium (LCC) has earthmovers digging into hillsides that have never been cleared of lethal ordnance. In doing so, the company puts lives at risk. Most of the time, we see the shovels and other heavy equipment out in the countryside with just a few surveyors, flagmen and...
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Project Phongsali 2011: Road construction unearths bombs and feeds a black market in explosives and scrap.

March 15, 2011
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Project Phongsali 2011: Road construction unearths bombs and feeds a black market in explosives and scrap.

Week Five Day Thirty-Nine The decision by the Lao Construction Consortium (LCC) to rebuild Highway 2E without first clearing ordnance along the roadway clearly puts their employees at risk. We’ve repeatedly spoken with equipment operators who know that their lives could end at any time, should they happen upon a bomb. Their response is...
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Project Phongsali 2011: A bomblet too dangerous to move. We had to destroy it right there in the middle of the village. But first…

March 14, 2011
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Project Phongsali 2011: A bomblet too dangerous to move.  We had to destroy it right there in the middle of the village.  But first…

Week Six Day Thirty-Eight: Today we stopped in a village to drop off several bomb casings that we recently cleaned of boosters, fuses, and remnants of high explosive. Returning casings helps us to build trust among the villagers. We enjoy proving wrong the cynics who predict that our team will disappear with the casings,...
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Project Phongsali 2011: At school event we count participants from eighteen different ethnic groups.

March 13, 2011
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Project Phongsali 2011: At school event we count participants from eighteen different ethnic groups.

Week Six Day Thirty-Seven: Tomorrow is International Woman’s Day, a time to celebrate the many diverse contributions that women throughout the world make to family, community and nation.  In Laos, all government offices and schools will close and the event is certain to inspire daylong parties. Here in Muang May the partying has already...
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Project Phongsali 2011: We need cooperation. When a demolition is delayed people are at risk.

March 12, 2011
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Project Phongsali 2011: We need cooperation.  When a demolition is delayed people are at risk.

Week Six Day Thirty-Six: Rarely do we not get full co-operation from villagers when we have to move people and their possessions around to assure safety during a demolition. Once, in Khammouan Province we had to control the movements of over 500 people for most of a day while experts worked on a 750-pound...
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Project Phongsali 2011: In response to our report of children’s deaths, doctors conduct an emergency clinic.

March 11, 2011
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Project Phongsali 2011: In response to our report of children’s deaths, doctors conduct an emergency clinic.

Week Five Day Thirty-Five: As we passed through Kiew Ka Cham village this morning we noticed a pick-up truck with government plates sitting along the road. In the bed was a large white Styrofoam cooler, the kind that Lao venders use to transport meat, fish, vegetables and other perishable foods from market to village....
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Project Phongsali 2011: Among children killed or injured by ordnance, far more victims are boys. What is it about boys?

March 10, 2011
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Project Phongsali 2011: Among children killed or injured by ordnance, far more victims are boys.  What is it about boys?

Week Five Day Thirty-Four: To say that I acted on intuition would suggest a premonition. To be honest, I had no inkling, no gut instinct, no hunch. I was bored, becalmed in the doldrums, and simply hoped to provoke something, anything, interesting to happen. We were returning to our camp after a long, hot...
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