Project Phongsali 2011: Some village “bomb experts” handle UXO for gain. Some take risks to keep others safe.

February 16, 2011
Project Phongsali 2011:  Some village “bomb experts” handle UXO for gain.  Some take risks to keep others safe.

Week Two Day Thirteen: Mrs. Khangbao, a genial, peaceable soul, somehow ended up married to one of the most daring village bomb experts that I’ve ever met.  She jokes that long ago she conceded defeat, and no longer struggles to drag him with her into old age.  Now, both physically and emotionally, she distances...
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Project Phongsali 2011: Teachers are thankful for Book Box Libraries. For the first time, students have reading books in their hands.

February 15, 2011
Project Phongsali 2011: Teachers are thankful for Book Box Libraries.  For the first time, students have reading books in their hands.

Week Two Day Twelve: Today we trucked back to Sop Houn to discuss with the village teachers their use of two “Book Box Libraries” that our project donated last year.  This is the first school year that students have had literature books to read.   In the past, as is the case in over...
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Project Phongsali 2011: Sometimes challenges in Laos keep children from getting proper treatment.

February 14, 2011
Project Phongsali 2011:  Sometimes challenges in Laos keep children from getting proper treatment.

Week Two Day Eleven: When we passed through Luang Prabang on our way north I stopped by the COPE clinic (Cooperative Orthotics and Prosthetics Enterprise) to check the treatment records for six villagers we delivered to the center last year.  They were a mixed group of villagers; some were amputees who had never been...
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Project Phongsali 2011: School makes good use of land that we cleared last year.

February 13, 2011
Project Phongsali 2011: School makes good use of land that we cleared last year.

Week Two Day Ten: When we were in Sop Houn yesterday several villagers told us that they had indeed found new ordnance during the months we were gone.  So…we asked the village naiban to spread word that next week, when our full team is in place, we will again remove or destroy any dangerous...
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Project Phongsali 2011: We return to Sop Houn and share videos with villagers who helped make them

February 12, 2011
Project Phongsali 2011: We return to Sop Houn and share videos with villagers who helped make them

Week Two Day Nine: Having chosen to work along highway 2-E this season, we decided that we should begin with a visit to Sop Houn, the town where we lived and worked last year. It’s a place best described as a village of 500 people, 96 houses and 58 bomb craters. Given the level...
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Project Phongsali 2011: Road crews move soil about. Villagers find bombs and other ordnance.

February 11, 2011
Project Phongsali 2011:  Road crews move soil about.  Villagers find bombs and other ordnance.

Week Two Day Eight Today we headed out of Muang Khoua to investigate conditions in villages along the main east-west highway through the southern districts of Phongsali. For years this road has been not much more than an unpaved, single-lane trail winding alongside the Nam Ou River and its tributaries. The road, now designated...
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Project Phongsali 2011: We visit several locales to determine which villages we will serve this year.

February 10, 2011
Project Phongsali 2011: We visit several locales to determine which villages we will serve this year.

Week One Day Seven: Our inquiries in Muang Khoua have us thinking that we’re likely to find work in one of three zones. At the district governor’s office staff tell us that they’ve received appeals for help with ordnance from villagers living along highway 2E, which connects Muang Khoua with the Vietnam border to...
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Project Phongsali 2011: We evaluate hospital services in the event that our team encounters accident victims.

February 9, 2011
Project Phongsali 2011: We evaluate hospital services in the event that our team encounters accident victims.

Week One Day Five: We arrive in the town of Oudomxai about 4:30 PM, too late to chance making it to our ultimate destination, Muang Khoua, before dark. In addition to wanting the safety of daylight driving, we are worried that arriving in Muang Khoua late may leave us without a place to spend...
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Project Phongsali 2011: Minor police corruption causes minor delay but we’re soon back on the road.

February 8, 2011
Project Phongsali 2011: Minor police corruption causes minor delay but we’re soon back on the road.

Week One Day Four Continued While we were in the Luang Prabang morning market, a police officer spotted our truck parked beside the road and immediately applied a “boot” to a front wheel, immobilizing it. (There went our early start to Oudomxai!) Yai had no trouble finding the officer who had applied the boot....
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