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Project Sekong 2012: Meet more of our team. Bounphasith Xayavong (“Yai”) is our interpreter.

February 14, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Meet more of our team.   Bounphasith Xayavong (“Yai”) is our interpreter.

Report 21 Our interpreter’s full name is Bounphasith Xayavong but he prefers the shorter nickname, “Yai”.  Even his oldest friends would have a difficult time conjuring up his real name.  Yai is our main man.  Usually, the guy who makes it all happen.  The man who puts things right when the wheels fall off the...
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Project Sekong 2012: We get homesick. We get hungry. Now we’re getting eaten alive by a bug the Lao call the “mandan”.

February 13, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: We get homesick.  We get hungry.  Now we’re getting eaten alive by a bug the Lao call the “mandan”.

Report 20 Ahh! At last! The tick that I’ve been studying for the last couple minutes has started crawling across my knee.  It’s alive. That confirms that I succeeded in pulling it off my neck without tearing its head off.  I have a crummy batting average with ticks here.  They always clamp on to...
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Project Sekong 2012: Meet our team, starting with Chomrong Koy our Team Leader

February 12, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Meet our team, starting with Chomrong Koy our Team Leader

Report 19 Chomrong Koy, an ethnic Khmer, is a proud Cambodian nationalist.  He’s forty years old and has been working with clearance organizations for nearly half his life.  He got his early training with the Cambodian army but then left the military for better paying work on the civilian side.  He’s logged years of...
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Project Sekong 2012: Few jobs are as challenging as dealing with a huge bomb in a village cemetery.

February 10, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Few jobs are as challenging as dealing with a huge bomb in a village cemetery.

Report 18 The UXO/Lao team that stopped to visit this morning has an interesting dilemma on their hands, a situation similar to one we faced two years ago in Phongsali Province. While we were working in Sop Houn we found a cluster bomblet on a hillside overlooking the village school.  Clearly, the ordnance was...
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Project Sekong 2012: Two boys each cross paths with a bombie.

February 9, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Two boys each cross paths with a bombie.

Report 17 My thoughts are with two boys here in Laos and the events that occurred when they crossed paths with unexploded ordnance.  One boy was so gravely injured that from the day of his accident forward there has been no hope that he will ever resume his prior life.  The other boy walked...
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Project Sekong 2012: The Lao government posts a roving team in Sekong Province to destroy newly found UXO.

February 8, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: The Lao government posts a roving team in Sekong Province to destroy newly found UXO.

Report 16 Today, while our team was working in Dak Door, searching gardens and the sites of future fishponds, a team of men and women from the government agency UXO/Lao stopped by to greet us.  Their nine-person team is responsible for providing “rapid response” to ordnance found throughout this district. Over the past week...
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Project Sekong 2012: Fishponds offer hope for improved diet.

February 7, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Fishponds offer hope for improved diet.

Report 15 After we finished clearing a path for the new irrigation ditch we immediately started work on other livelihood projects requested by villagers.  High on everyone’s list is a fishpond.  Nearly every household aspires to a personal pond but where land is scare, several families will have to share.  Most villagers want their...
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Project Sekong 2012: Villages move closer to doubling their rice crop. The paths of the new irrigation ditches are cleared of UXO.

February 6, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: Villages move closer to doubling their rice crop. The paths of the new irrigation ditches are cleared of UXO.

Report 14 We’ve finished clearing the path for the new irrigation ditches in Dak Den and Dak Dor.  Workers in both villages are already hard at it, digging the ditches, hoping to have water flowing to their land in time to plant an early rice crop before the monsoon rains arrive. People are confident...
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Project Sekong 2012: We have five different ethnic groups in camp and no agreement on favorite foods or how to coexist with pigs.

February 5, 2012
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Project Sekong 2012: We have five different ethnic groups in camp and no agreement on favorite foods or how to coexist with pigs.

Report 13 Update on the Pig War: Round One went to the pigs.  They ate our sugar, our beans and our cabbage.  All stuff intended for breakfast.  But…let’s call a spade a spade: they ate our lunch. Round Two: We come out fighting.  Armed with slingshots, we get in more than a few good...
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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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