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Project Sekong 2014: Our new medic brings back old memories.

January 30, 2014
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Project Sekong 2014: Our new medic brings back old memories.

Yesterday evening our replacement medic arrived from Sekong. Our first medic bugged out in Vientiane giving no good reason; the guys all assume that, having experienced Dak Cheung District before, he just wasn’t up to the rigors. His replacement, a medic borrowed from another company, arrived telling us he could stay for two weeks....
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Project Sekong 2014: It may be the dry season but the bugs are eating us alive! Especially on sites that will become fishponds.

January 25, 2014
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Project Sekong 2014: It may be the dry season but the bugs are eating us alive!  Especially on sites that will become fishponds.

In my opinion Moses fiddled around too long experimenting with calamities that might impose an attitude adjustment on a hard-hearted Pharaoh: water to blood, boils, locusts, fleas, frogs, firestorms and more—concluding with (IMHO) the unnecessary deaths of many firstborn children. Too bad that Moses didn’t think to inflict Laotian mites upon the Egyptians right...
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Project Sekong 2014: We don’t pound a tent peg or build a fire until the camp is cleared of UXO.

January 20, 2014
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Project Sekong 2014: We don’t pound a tent peg or build a fire until the camp is cleared of UXO.

Yesterday when the trucks pulled into this site and the team offloaded all our gear, there wasn’t much that we could do until the deminers first checked the site for unexploded ordnance. We were told that a construction company had previously used the site, but we would never trust that another organization had properly...
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Project Sekong 2014: We end our first day with a truck missing but the next morning find it stuck in the mud!

January 19, 2014
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Project Sekong 2014: We end our first day with a truck missing but the next morning find it stuck in the mud!

This morning I woke up cold and crabby at a guesthouse in Dak Cheung. Last night the five of us traveling in the Land Cruiser arrived in the district well after dark, a consequence of our making a sweeping, two-hour detour to a neighboring province to locate a fellow who had agreed, via phone,...
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News article reprinted from The Global Post: “US Presses Laos Over Missing Activist”

May 10, 2013
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News article reprinted from The Global Post: “US Presses Laos Over Missing Activist”

A US rights envoy on Monday appealed to Laos for more information on a prominent activist missing for two months, saying the case was having a “chilling effect” on civil society groups. Sombath Somphone, the 62-year-old founder of a non-governmental organisation campaigning for sustainable development, disappeared in Vientiane while driving home on December 15....
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Project Sekong 2013: The team needs shoes. Could it get more basic than that?

April 27, 2013
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Project Sekong 2013: The team needs shoes.  Could it get more basic than that?

Our project in Sekong still has eleven days to go, but I’m starting to reflect on the early days, back in January. An issue this year was quality of footwear. Many of the deminers reported to work wearing only flip-flops. The guys all have calloused feet toughened by years of working barefoot out of...
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Project Sekong 2013: Bomb sniffing dogs may return to Laos for another trial

April 6, 2013
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Project Sekong 2013: Bomb sniffing dogs may return to Laos for another trial

There’s talk of bringing bomb detection dogs back to Laos. About ten years ago MAG, the Mines Advisory Group, brought two dogs from Sweden for trials. The dogs worked well with their Swedish handlers, but were an expensive addition to MAG clearance efforts and there was doubt, in the end, about whether the dogs’...
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Project Sekong 2013: Before she’ll help us destroy a bomb, a girl makes us do her chores!

April 4, 2013
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Project Sekong 2013: Before she’ll help us destroy a bomb, a girl makes us do her chores!

We visited a school and asked students if anyone knew of problem ordnance near their village. Sure enough, several girls told us that their friend had come upon a cluster bomblet while collecting bamboo shoots. None of the girls new the location of the bomblet; we would have to talk to their friend who...
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Project Sekong 2013: We’re Clearing Land So Villagers Can Dig Fishponds, An Important Source Of Protein

April 2, 2013
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Project Sekong 2013: We’re Clearing Land So Villagers Can Dig Fishponds, An Important Source Of Protein

Among the various livelihood projects that we are enabling few are more popular than fishponds. And, what’s not to like? The ponds don’t have to be big to serve as a suitable habitat for small fish, frogs, snails, crustaceans, and other edible organisms that are already part of the Lao villagers’ diet. With a...
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Project Sekong 2013: Where We Work People Have No Surplus To Sell. The Closest Market Is An Hour Away

March 30, 2013
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Project Sekong 2013: Where We Work People Have No Surplus To Sell.  The Closest Market Is An Hour Away

It may not look like much but this market in Dak Chung is our Wal-Mart, our Walgreens, and our Piggly Wiggly. If they don’t have it in Dak Chung, we’d best decide that we don’t really need it. We don’t get here often because Dak Chung is an hour from camp and the roads...
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