Still Living in Action

Mekong River, Vientiane, Laos, the evening we met Lee I haven’t posted here in a long time. Quite a long time—but I’m back to the blog. In the weeks to come, I’ll talk about where I’ve been and why you haven’t seen me, but right now I want to tell you about Lee. I met […]

Camp Food, Laos

Earlier this spring, we followed a bomb clearance team working high in the mountains near the Lao/Vietnam border. We all camped in tents pitched inside a village schoolhouse that offered shelter from the wind, rain, cold, and critters outside. One rudimentary room with a stellar view served as the camp kitchen. Cooking took place over […]

Beyond Terror

Happy Thanksgiving week. As some of you know, we recently returned to the US after a month of reporting in Timor-Leste, followed by a week of working in Singapore. A few nights ago, I awoke sleepless and jetlagged 3 a.m. I grabbed a pen and notebook, went to the living room and started writing about […]

A Recipe for Roseburg Peace

The North Umpqua River near Roseburg Jerry and I lived for several years in Roseburg. He worked at the local paper, The News-Review, while I went to graduate school up the road in Eugene. It’s sickening to hear what happened yesterday. That is not the Roseburg I knew. Some of the best friends in life […]

A Celebration of Lao Food & Farming

  Farming in Laos Khao niaw, sticky rice. It’s the lifeblood of lowland Laos. The Lao phrase “to eat” specifically implies eating glutinous rice. To some, sticky rice is an integral part of national and ethnic identity. Many Laotian meals are designed around glutinous rice, which is taken with the right hand and formed into […]

On Boston and the Eternal Tragedy of Bombs

SCARS OF BOMBARDMENT: an aerial view of the countryside around Phonsavanh, Laos, showing the ubiquitous bomb craters that remain throughout the province, 40 years after US bombs fell across the country. This week, our nation grieves for lives lost, bodies broken, futures ripped to bits. We mourn the blood splattered on sidewalks of innocents. It […]

Cambodia’s Injured Sugar Palms

A full-grown sugar palm holds up to 100 years of history in its trunk. In Cambodia, these trees bear the scars of long-gone wars. Rith (he’s a fount of knowledge, always telling, always showing) takes us to his rice field where we can see clearly the wounds of American B52 bombs. Some of those holes […]

Dining with Dioxin

A fried fish served at a restaurant in Sepon, Laos, near the old Ho Chi Minh Trail, in a region that was sprayed with herbicides during war. In the past seven years of research on unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos, we’ve often wondered about the safety of foods we’ve eaten and encountered along the way—the […]

The Fish at the End of the Road

Valu Beach, below Tutuala, East Timor This is not here. This, above, is Valu Beach on the far tip of East Timor. “Here,” for me, right now, is Boulder, Colorado, beneath a fresh dump of snow. I could use a burst of Timorese warmth right now. I’m traveling to East Timor in mind tonight, thanks […]

Bombs Threaten Lao Food Security

Members of a Phoenix Clearance Ltd. bomb clearance group, led by American Jim Harris, search for unexploded ordnance (UXO) in a dry rice field in the northern province of Phongsali. Laos is having its 15 minutes this week. As hundreds of foreigners gather in the capital for the First Meeting of States Parties to the […]