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Project Sekong 2012: Some of the refuse of war that we find is safe for villagers to recycle into things useful around the farm.

February 4, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Some of the refuse of war that we find is safe for villagers to recycle into things useful around the farm.

Report 12 We’re running into just enough old ordnance now to keep the deminers on their toes.  One of our guys turned up a 40mm rocket grenade.  Another, several rounds of antiaircraft ammunition.  Then, one of the ladies got a strong reading on her detector and after a fair amount of digging was rewarded...
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Project Sekong 2012: Mother killed attempting to expand garden.

February 4, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Mother killed attempting to expand garden.

Report 11 When I witness people, impatient to expand their gardens, striking bomb-contaminated land with picks and shovels, I’m reminded of a family that I met a few years ago in Xieng Khuang Province. The parents had three young children and were dependent on a small garden and rice field for their livelihood.  As...
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Project Sekong 2012: Hats off to the Dutch! Surgeons from the Netherlands perform reconstructive surgeries.

February 3, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Hats off to the Dutch!  Surgeons from the Netherlands perform reconstructive surgeries.

Report 10 Hats off to the Dutch! I arrived in Vientiane a day too late to meet the surgeons from the Netherlands who were in Laos under the auspices of the Dutch non-government organization Bridge the Gap.  They had completed their annual surgical mission to Laos the day before and had already departed from...
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Project Sekong 2012: CARE, our partner, has the livelihood projects well organized and we get good cooperation from villagers. We thank our lucky stars!

February 2, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: CARE, our partner, has the livelihood projects well organized and we get good cooperation from villagers.  We thank our lucky stars!

Report 9 I sat out under the stars for nearly an hour last night.  We are so far removed from any light pollution that the night sky flaunts a lavish profusion of stars.  We’re lucky in northern Wisconsin to have dark, star-studded skies but I can’t recall any night scene as striking as what...
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Project Sekong 2012: Must we find bombs before we declare land safe? No. And furthermore, we hope we don’t find a thing!

February 1, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Must we find bombs before we declare land safe?  No.  And furthermore,  we hope we don’t find a thing!

Report 8 In spite of two tough days on the road and a late arrival last night Chomrong, our Team Leader, had everyone up early this morning. By 7:00 AM with equipment in hand the team was aboard the truck and we were all bouncing down the road toward Dak Den village and our...
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Project Sekong 2012: Another day passes and the girl with the broken arm still waits for help.

January 31, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Another day passes and the girl with the broken arm still waits for help.

Report 7 As we went about our work yesterday, Yai and I were both keenly aware of the ten-year-old girl lying in the clinic next to our camp.  Not that any sound came from her room.  There is anguish on the child’s face but she bears the pain in her broken arm bravely, silently....
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Project Sekong 2012: After a tree fell on the girl, it took more than a day for her family to reach help.

January 30, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: After a tree fell on the girl, it took more than a day for her family to reach help.

Report 6 En route to a new worksite we always visit hospitals and clinics along the way to determine what resources are available should someone on our team need emergency medical attention. The hierarchy runs from provincial hospital, to district hospital to village clinic (sometimes labeled “dispensary”).  The provincial and district hospitals typically have...
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Project Sekong 2012: Villagers dream of better lives. CARE will provide resources. We’ll remove UXO that has stalled progress.

January 29, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Villagers dream of better lives.  CARE will provide resources.  We’ll remove UXO that has stalled progress.

Report 5 In previous years our work with unexploded ordnance has taken the form of “rapid response.”  We’ve employed the simple strategy of moving into a remote village that has a known history of contamination and telling residents that if they lead us to problem ordnance we will make the device safe within forty-eight...
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Project Sekong 2012: We include women on a team to help advance their careers, but having a mixed team can create complications.

January 28, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: We include women on a team to help advance their careers, but having a mixed team can create complications.

Report 4 Yai and I always arrive on site at least a week ahead of the rest of the team.  We meet with village leaders, pick a site for camp, arrange for delivery of food and water, and begin logging reports of problem ordnance.  By day six or seven we’re always eager for the...
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Project Sekong 2012: We’re living among subsistence farmers who have no surplus food to sell.

January 27, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: We’re living among subsistence farmers who have no surplus food to sell.

Report 3 Our camp is in good shape.  Our tents are on flat land next to a small building that should protect us from the prevailing winds and the dust they carry.  We’ve found a safe spot to build our cooking fire. (It’s dangerous to build fires on uncleared land.  Less than two weeks...
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