Project Sekong 2013: Don’t Count On The Police Here To Solve A Problem With Old Ordnance. People Are On Their Own!

March 18, 2013
Project Sekong 2013: Don’t Count On The Police Here To Solve A Problem With Old Ordnance.  People Are On Their Own!

In Laos, if you find a bomb, it’s your bomb.  If you find a landmine, it’s your landmine.  To Americans who are accustomed to calling on the police or fire department for a variety of services that fact of life is difficult to grasp. After we arrive in a village and set up camp...
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Project Phongsali 2013: Often, Women Who Lead Us To Ordnance Insist On Bringing Someone Else Along.

March 16, 2013
Project Phongsali 2013: Often, Women Who Lead Us To Ordnance Insist On Bringing Someone Else Along.

When providing villagers with “rapid response” to their discovery of dangerous ordnance we sometimes face a dilemma rooted in the cultural practices of the village.  It’s women and girls who find much of the ordnance that we are asked to destroy.  It follows then that, often, it’s a female who must lead our mostly...
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Project Sekong 2013: We Clear Land. Villagers Plant More Coffee. We Sell Their Coffee. 100% Of The Profit Supports Our Work

March 14, 2013
Project Sekong 2013: We Clear Land.  Villagers Plant More Coffee.  We Sell Their Coffee.  100% Of The Profit Supports Our Work

Our organization’s most successful fundraiser to date was our recent sale of Lao coffee grown on the Bolaven Plateau, near our present worksite. I love coffee, and I begin every day with a pot brewed from locally grown Arabica beans. But my confidence in this coffee as a fundraiser soared as supporters in the...
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Project Sekong 2013: Unsolved mysteries at the Plain of Jars

March 12, 2013
Project Sekong 2013: Unsolved mysteries at the Plain of Jars

The Plain of Jars, in Xieng Khuang Province in the north of Laos, is likely to be designated a World Heritage Site, and has frequently been touted in guides as worthy of every traveler’s bucket list. The huge stone jars for which the plateau is named were carved from solid blocks of stone by...
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Project Sekong 2013: We Take Pleasure In Re-connecting Families

March 10, 2013
Project Sekong 2013: We Take Pleasure In Re-connecting Families

The United States is now home to more than 150,000 Hmong-Americans. Readers of this blog are probably among the tiny percentage of Americans who can correctly identify Laos as the country from which most of those new residents began their journey out of Asia. (The funniest incorrect answer to the question, “Where did the...
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Project Sekong 2013: Buddhist Temples And Monks

March 8, 2013
Project Sekong 2013: Buddhist Temples And Monks

Laos is largely a Buddhist nation. In communities throughout the country, in villages, towns and cities, Buddhist temples are a prominent fixture and the monks who reside on temple grounds are a common yet colorful sight. In the early morning hours, usually just at the break of day, monks will walk single file through...
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From the Vientiane Times: “Interplast medical team reconstructing lives in Laos”

March 6, 2013
From the Vientiane Times: “Interplast medical team reconstructing lives in Laos”

Some 88 people suffering from severe burns or other disfiguring conditions have received free surgical treatment, thanks to the support of the Interplast Australia and New Zealand medical team . Surgeons from Interplast and Mahosot Hospital met yesterday to evaluate their surgical achievements during their10 day working stay in Laos from February 18-28. Director...
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Project Sekong 2013: Nearly Half Of All Victims Are Intentionally Handling UXO

March 4, 2013
Project Sekong 2013: Nearly Half Of All Victims Are Intentionally Handling UXO

Here’s a tree stump on which people have placed four pieces of unexploded ordnance. Clearly, somebody decided that moving these items was worth the risk. Our team would handle two of the pictured items warily; the other two items, both cluster munitions, we will not move under any circumstances. Why did someone take the...
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Project Sekong 2013: This Time Of Year The Hills Are Aflame

March 2, 2013
Project Sekong 2013: This Time Of Year The Hills Are Aflame

The Lao government is trying to discourage the age-old practice of “slash and burn” agriculture. Most Lao farmers consider the method, also called “swidden agriculture,” to be essential to maintaining their way of life. By employing fire to remove the vegetation, cut by hand and dried in the sun, a single family can clear...
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