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Learning from my mentor.

April 13, 2006
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Throughout my career, I’ve benefited by working with people who have helped me grow and learn. I first took a job with the D.C. Everest Area School District because I wanted to work with Al Wheeler, then the Assistant Superintendent of Schools. His reputation as an outstanding educator made me confident that he would...
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So what exactly was I thinking?

April 13, 2006
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So what exactly is Jim Harris thinking? He’s working with a bomb disposal unit? Sounds like someone we know is having a mid-life crisis. Detractors might suggest the wheel is spinning but the hamster has obviously died. No. No midlife crisis here. In the first place, I’m too old to have a mid-life crisis....
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Our teammates survive a bus accident in Nakai.

April 10, 2006
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I was just sitting down to a meal when we got word that some of our guys who were returning from their monthly leave were involved in a bus accident. Details were sketchy at first, but slowly, through repeated cell phone calls, we gained enough information to piece the story together. Our guys were...
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Ants attack me. I attack ants. I didn’t know their eggs are considered a delicacy.

April 8, 2006
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An electrical wire runs head-high through my tent. That’s “head-high” when measured against the Lao guy who strung the wire. I catch it under my chin several times a day. Each time I clothesline myself, the wire twangs like a guitar string and pitches the ants that are walking on the wire off into...
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My education in Lao ways continues.

March 28, 2006
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The education of James A. Harris continues. I haven’t had breakfast yet and I’ve already learned how to sharpen a stick! Before today I would have cut the timber to proper length with my machete and then hacked or whittled the end to a sharpened point, all the while pressing the end of the...
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I probably had it coming.

March 25, 2006
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One of our truck drivers put me in my place this morning. I had it coming. He used some gentle, intelligent humor to skewer me good after I inadvertently raised his hackles. I wanted to shadow our crew as they worked their normal tasks, thinking that my observations would be good for my education....
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If you can’t run with the big dogs…

March 23, 2006
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There is truth in the old saying, “If you can’t run with the big dogs stay on the porch.” Recently, there have been a couple of occasions when I’ve had to swallow my pride and curl up on the porch while the big dogs ran with the pack.” Yesterday, as we prepared to leave...
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Setting up our first camp in Nakai.

March 18, 2006
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Right now I’ve got two workers (the guards for the camp) up in trees trimming branches that are rubbing against the tents pitched below. I’m hoping that neither falls and breaks an arm or a leg. I was insistent that the younger of the two, who looked more spry, climb up the tree and...
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