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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Banning the Cluster Bomb

A farmer in Sepon, Laos, stands in his field, which he cleared of ordnance by himself. He said he found many munitions. The small banana behind him grows in a bomb crater. An international treaty banning the cluster bomb takes effect today. Cluster bombs are large weapons that hold up to several hundred small explosives […]

The American Man Who Blows Up Bombs in Laos

In just a few weeks, a very important man will return to Laos. His name is Jim Harris. He’s a retired school principal from rural Wisconsin. He’s the only American working in the field to clear U.S. bombs from the soil in Laos. That’s Jim in the picture above. He’s standing among his boxes and […]

Two New Books and a Paperback

I’ve been itching to announce this, but I resisted until a little Express mail package arrived at our door. Jerry and I have just signed two book deals with ThingsAsian Press. In addition, I recently learned that Bison Books will publish a paperback edition of Pacific Lady next year. Specific publication dates have not yet […]

Clearing Bombs in Lao Fields

Just a quick note to let you know I have a profile of Jim Harris, the Wisconsinite who clears bombs from Lao farm fields, in this month’s Milwaukee Magazine. Sorry to say the article is not online.

Up in Smoke

White phosphorous canisters, dropped by American forces on Laos 30 or more years ago, detonated this month by a clearance team in Nakai Tai village, Khammouane province It’s a thrill to blow up bombs – old bombs, evil bombs, from a war that ended decades ago but continues to kill today. This is what a […]

Pumpkin Crisps

We sit near the Nam Phu fountain, eating a snack of fresh yogurt and sweet pumpkin chips with sesame. A man named Khampa takes a seat beside us. He begs us for food, then money. He has traveled to Vientiane from Savannakhet, presumably to make some money. I hand him the bag of pumpkin crisps […]

These Bowls

Have I told you about these bowls? I don’t think I have, althouth some of you may have heard me talk about them in another venue. The contents of these bowls are not so remarkable (though tasty—stir-fried tofu with miso, cabbage with ginger and garlic). What’s intriguing is the story of how these bowls came […]