Author Archive

WHWV provides schools with their first books.

September 18, 2006
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When school was out here for the summer, I can’t say that I was aware of more children running around during the day than before summer vacation. During the school year there always seem to be swarms of children around, regardless of schools being in session. At first I thought their presence was a...
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Wisconsin students sponsor surgery for a child with a birth defect.

September 5, 2006
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n Laos, a lot of babies die before anyone gets to know them well. Statistics compiled by the United Nations indicate that nearly one out of every ten infants born here will die within the first year of life; eighteen percent of babies born in a given year will die before their fifth birthday....
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It’s the rainy season. It’s hot, humid, and the road is a river of mud.

August 22, 2006
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Word from Wisconsin this summer is that the land is dry, and the heat’s oppressive. My wife, an art educator, employs a rich vocabulary to depict the deteriorating condition of our yard (even though she is limited to shades of brown). I reassure her about the lawn, telling her that the grass has gone...
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Caution! We brake for snakes!

August 7, 2006
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The Lao believe that a deer crossing their path is a sign of bad luck. Having clipped a few Wisconsin whitetail deer during my forty-five years of driving, I have independently arrived at the same conclusion. In contrast, the Lao believe that a snake crossing their path is a sign of good luck. Of...
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Food from the sky.

August 3, 2006
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Once, when my grandmother was feeling sorry for herself, she summed up her run of bad luck by declaring, “If it rained soup the storm would catch me carrying nothing but a fork.” From boyhood on, the image of a soup storm has stuck vividly in my mind. Tomato would be a treat; cream...
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Villagers risk their lives harvesting scrap.

July 20, 2006
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Eight out of every ten people in Laos survive day to day consuming the products of their most recent harvest. Villagers grow enough for this year’s needs, but have nothing to store in anticipation of future problems. Their labor produces just enough food for survival, but little surplus to sell to others. Because they...
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Four-year-old Noi mistakes a bomblet for fruit.

July 8, 2006
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When my son and daughter were young, there were times when the benefits of a good education, the wisdom of their parents’ guidance, and the logic of their own common sense would fail them. Then, they might do something reckless and endanger their lives. While they felt immortal, I was keenly aware that any...
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Mother of three killed by cluster bomb.

June 18, 2006
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Over the course of the Indochina War, American military planes flew more than 580,000 bomb runs across Laos and dropped over two million tons of ordnance. The U.S. Department of Defense estimates that between 10 and 30 per cent of that ordnance never exploded as intended. Experts refer to the leftovers as “Unexploded Ordnance”...
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The monk who beaned Saytavin with a rock.

June 1, 2006
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I don’t suppose I’ll ever learn the real reason the little monk beaned Saytavin with a rock yesterday. There was poor Saytavin asking no more from life than a refreshing bath in the river following a sweaty day in the forest cutting brush. Then, out of the blue, a rock cracks him right in...
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Paul suggested that I take cover in the bucket of the steam shovel.

May 25, 2006
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Paul suggested that before the bomb went off, I should take cover in the bucket of the steam shovel. He confided that whenever a big bomb exploded, he always preferred to hide in the scoop of a steam shovel, if one was available. I suspected a set-up. To get in, I’d have to squeeze...
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