Phonsavan & Surrounding Areas, Laos
Make a Difference in War-Torn Xieng Khouang Province, LaosRiding through the countryside of Laos’ remote Xieng Khouang province, we spied verdant rolling hills, villagers of all ages escorting livestock on the dusty roadside, and giant craters disfiguring the landscape. For an instant, these cavities in the red earth evoked images of sand traps on golf courses. However, with Laos’ unfortunate distinction of being the world’s most bombed country per capita, not much golf is being played here.
Guided by a local father-and-son team, we had embarked on a day trip to visit the country’s mysterious archaeological treasure: the Plain of Jars. We would also visit two villages: Ban Naphia and Ban Tajok, nicknamed ‘Spoon Village’ and ‘Bomb Village’, respectively. The former is well-known because of its resourceful residents who fashion spoons out of bombs, as seen in the image above.
Independently, we'd later visit Muang Khoun's Wat Phia Wat, the site of a Buddhist temple destroyed by the French during the first Indochina War in 1953, and again during American bombing raids in the 1960s. We'd also visit landmine education centers in Phonsavan and Vientiane, all of which have donation opportunities. For a modest donation, you can pay to have a section of Laotian land cleared of UXO, paving the way for locals to safely farm there. We offered this service as a Christmas present to our parents.
My post: http://triciaannemitchell.com/2015/05/09/plain-of-jars-phonsavan-laos-unexploded-ordnance/