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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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Project Sekong 2013: If We Find Casings We Will Likely Find Cluster Bomblets

March 28, 2013
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Project Sekong 2013: If We Find Casings We Will Likely Find Cluster Bomblets

There are different ways to distribute cluster munitions but, essentially, they all involve a “mother” bomb that explodes in the air over a target area, releasing numerous, smaller, sub-munitions, sometimes called cluster bomblets. The bomblets fall to earth, detonate, and scatter shrapnel over a wide area. In some instances the bomblets do not explode...
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Project Sekong 2013: Two Rules To Follow Here If You Want To Stay Healthy

March 26, 2013
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Project Sekong 2013: Two Rules To Follow Here If You Want To Stay Healthy

To remain healthy here I stick to some unwavering standards. The most important self-imposed rule is to never drink questionable water. I used to raise sheep and one thing you’ve got to admire about sheep is their demand for wholesome water. A sheep will die of thirst standing next to a pail of dirty...
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Project Sekong 2013: Our collection of cultural artifacts helps Lao refugee families connect with the past. We keep looking.

March 24, 2013
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Project Sekong 2013: Our collection of cultural artifacts helps Lao refugee families connect with the past. We keep looking.

My pack lightens quickly after I arrive here. I usually have goods such as medial supplies that I deliver to hospitals, clinics and aid programs. Once those items are distributed I travel lightly. As clothes wear out I discard them, further lightening my load. When my baggage bottoms out I start thinking of items...
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Project Sekong 2013: Our Answers To The Most Commonly Asked Snake Questions: Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and No. For The Questions, Read Below.

March 20, 2013
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Project Sekong 2013: Our Answers To The Most Commonly Asked Snake Questions: Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and No.  For The Questions, Read Below.

Here are the five questions people most commonly ask us about snakes in Laos: 1. Are there a lot of snakes in Laos? Yes. Many interesting varieties, big and small. 2. Do you encounter them in your work? Yes. We see them all the time, because we work where snakes live. Hardly a day...
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Project Sekong 2013: Don’t Count On The Police Here To Solve A Problem With Old Ordnance. People Are On Their Own!

March 18, 2013
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Project Sekong 2013: Don’t Count On The Police Here To Solve A Problem With Old Ordnance.  People Are On Their Own!

In Laos, if you find a bomb, it’s your bomb.  If you find a landmine, it’s your landmine.  To Americans who are accustomed to calling on the police or fire department for a variety of services that fact of life is difficult to grasp. After we arrive in a village and set up camp...
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Project Phongsali 2013: Often, Women Who Lead Us To Ordnance Insist On Bringing Someone Else Along.

March 16, 2013
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Project Phongsali 2013: Often, Women Who Lead Us To Ordnance Insist On Bringing Someone Else Along.

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...
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