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Project Sekong 2014: We find tons of bomb fragments and other scrap. That’s not a figure of speech. That’s our reality

February 4, 2014
Project Sekong 2014: We find tons of bomb fragments and other scrap.  That’s not a figure of speech.  That’s our reality

As we sweep parcels of land with our metal detectors, looking for unexploded ordnance, we find prodigious quantities of scrap: bomb fragments, spent artillery shells, rifle casings, flare canisters, sometimes entire bomb casings weighing 500 pounds or more. All metal refuse must be removed from the area we are clearing or it will interfere...
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Project Sekong 2014: For good reason most aid agencies forbid their vehicles from traveling after dark

February 3, 2014
Project Sekong 2014: For good reason most aid agencies forbid their vehicles from traveling after dark

Last night a truck misjudged a curve and went airborne over a deep ravine. It ended its flight upside down in a stream, its skyward pointing tires about the only clue that the wreckage was once a truck. Three victims were found, deceased, in the morning; the men either perished in the crash or...
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Project Sekong 2014: A generation ago, before help arrived, farmers removed or destroyed ordnance themselves. Some lived, some died.

February 2, 2014
Project Sekong 2014: A generation ago, before help arrived, farmers removed or destroyed ordnance themselves.  Some lived, some died.

I knew we would find no ordnance but a lot of scrap on this hillside. There are several craters next to this site, a guarantee that this parcel was going to be filthy with fragments. (A 500-pound bomb consists of a 250 pound, hardened-steel casing containing 250 pounds of TNT-like high explosive). That much...
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Project Sekong 2014: Cluster bombs endanger lives and hamper development.

February 1, 2014
Project Sekong 2014: Cluster bombs endanger lives and hamper development.

America dropped at least 280 million cluster bomblets on Laos during the nine years of the “Secret War” and experts estimate that between 70 and 80 million of them still lurk in the soil, contaminating nearly 25 per cent of Laos’ 10,000 villages. We continue to find numerous cluster bombs in the coffee gardens...
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Project Sekong 2014: Sometimes the impulse to help collides with spiritual beliefs.

January 31, 2014
Project Sekong 2014: Sometimes the impulse to help collides with spiritual beliefs.

Good Samaritans here also have to consider the consequences of transporting a sick or injured person in their car or, offering shelter to someone who might die in their home. And often the impulse to help must be reconciled with deeply help spiritual believes.When nine-year-old Hamm was critically injured by an exploding bombie, his...
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Project Sekong 2014: Our new medic brings back old memories.

January 30, 2014
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
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
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
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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