Project Sekong 2013: Hmong Are A People Of The Mountain Tops

February 8, 2013
Project Sekong 2013: Hmong Are A People Of The Mountain Tops

There are, by conservative count, nearly fifty distinct ethnic groups in Laos. Some, like the Hmong and the Khamu, have populations that live in diverse regions of the country and number in the hundreds of thousands. Other groups, possibly headed for cultural extinction, have barely a few hundred members and live in tiny, compact,...
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Project Sekong 2013: You Won’t Find Many Dolls In Lao Homes

February 6, 2013
Project Sekong 2013: You Won’t Find Many Dolls In Lao Homes

Most Lao are subsistence farmers. They grow what they need to live and have little surplus to take to market. The family’s survival depends on successfully harvesting crops and then supplementing that harvest with plant products foraged from the forest. Men build, and fish, and hunt and contribute to survival in many ways but...
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Project Sekong 2013: We’re A Dry Season Project But People Need Help All Year

February 5, 2013
Project Sekong 2013: We’re A Dry Season Project But People Need Help All Year

There are several reasons we limit our work to the dry season. It’s hard on our workers and their families if we are on site for months at a time. And, in the rainy season our work hours are often shortened by rain storms. But, the greatest challenge during the rainy season is simply...
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Project Sekong 2013: A Young Accident Victim Gets To Personally Share His Story With Secretary Clinton

February 1, 2013
Project Sekong 2013: A Young Accident Victim Gets To Personally Share His Story With Secretary Clinton

Our ten-person team is headed for a remote setting that lacks electricity, phone lines and internet connection. We would like to keep our supporters informed about our efforts but timely communication via the internet just isn’t possible at this time. For now, the best we can do is to post photographs that document the...
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Project Sekong 2012: People living along the old HCM Trail continue to pay the price for a failed military strategy.

October 16, 2012

Report 41 Very early in the Vietnam War American military planners considered using our ground forces in a blocking action to stop the flow of soldiers and supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  Instead, the United States attempted to halt traffic through aerial interdiction.  We bombed peaks and valleys along the trail to...
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Project Sekong 2012: To make certain proper procedures are followed, government staff inspects our project.

October 15, 2012
Project Sekong 2012:  To make certain proper procedures are followed, government staff inspects our project.

Report 28 Here in Laos, people associated with clearance work always reference the “NRA”.  I’ve had to rewire my brain to not automatically conjure an image of Charleton Heston and the National Rife Association whenever I hear those letters.  What the Lao are referencing is the National Regulatory Association, the government agency responsible for...
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Project Sekong 2012: Teachers so value the new books that we have to admonish them: “It’s alright if students wear them out!”

March 19, 2012
Project Sekong 2012:  Teachers so value the new books that we have to admonish them: “It’s alright if students wear them out!”

Report 42 When Yai and I rooted around in the storage room at the Dak Door Primary School, we found a steel box labeled UNICEF that contained maybe three-dozen children’s books.  It was an uncommon find for a Lao school; we often quote the National Library of Laos statistic that more than 90 percent...
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Project Sekong 2012: With children in tow, Lao women work hard and often set the pace.

March 18, 2012
Project Sekong 2012: With children in tow, Lao women work hard and often set the pace.

Report 41 I did a favor for a lady yesterday and today I collected payback.  Admittedly, my assistance didn’t amount to much: she came to our camp holding a wild chicken and a squirrel that her husband had shot or snared.  The guys all encouraged me to buy the chicken; no one was much...
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Project Sekong 2012: How hard are villagers willing to work? These photos tell it all!

March 17, 2012
Project Sekong 2012: How hard are villagers willing to work?  These photos tell it all!

Report 40 Yai couldn’t resist saying “I told you so”.  And, grinning in satisfaction as we walked the length of the irrigation ditch in Dak Door.  Thirteen days ago, when we finished clearing the path for the new irrigation system, I told him that I doubted that villagers were up to the task of...
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