Posted: February 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’m upset people, upset and embarrassed, so much so I’m going all preachy in a bid to feel better about myself. A couple of days ago we visited a place called the Cope centre. There we learnt all about the massive unexploded mine issue that effects Laos. During the Vietnam War America waged a Secret War in Laos and in an effort to destroy a main supply route to the Vietcong along the Ho Chai Minh trail from north to South Vietnam Laos was bombed extensively. More than 2 million tons of ordnance was dropped and around 30% of the bombs dropped did not explode. This means that there are still potentially up to 80 million unexploded bombs left in Laos.

To this day mines are still accidentally detonated, killing and maiming thousands of Laotians. Children are most at risk as they pick up and play with the unexploded munitions, not knowing what they are.

The centre was very moving and highlighted this dreadful situation- anyone visiting the Laos capital should defiantly pop in.

So why am I upset? I’m upset because I had no idea that this situation existed on the scale it does. We did this trip without trying to raise any money for charity because it made no sense, as we were not visiting any projects or charities, we were simply doing it for ourselves.  It seems somewhat selfish now.  If we had been aware of this particular situation we would have liked to have tried to do something by raising a little money.

Anyway, in order to make amends for this oversight (and to guarantee my place in heaven) I ask you to look at the two websites below. One for Cope, who help many of the casualties of unexploded ordinance (UXO) and one for MAG, who do an amazing job of clearing UXO  and training local people to clear the mines in Laos and many other countries affected by the same problem. There is now also a link to MAG on the Home page.

  1. Kate says:

    Hey Simon, don’t beat yourself up! Lots and lots and LOTS of people stilll aren’t aware of this issue, but thanks to people like you, and organisations like MAG and COPE, they are beginning to learn….. Really appreciate this post and your support. Hope rest of the trip goes well. All best for the road, Kate (and all at MAG).

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