Intestinal fortitude

By Lisa McKay '03M.A.

This trip to Viengkham was my introduction to life outside the tourist mecca of Luang Prabang, and it didn’t take too long after leaving town before I started to see a little more of what the development statistics for Laos really mean when they make bland pronouncements, such as: 27 percent of the population here lives on less than $1 a day. Or, more than 40 percent of the rural children under age 5 are undernourished.

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A love that scares me

By Lisa McKay ’03M.A.

Last week, right after my boss had asked me whether I’d be willing to go to Pakistan this summer if need be and I’d said yes, the latest Humanitarian Policy Group report on providing aid in insecure environments crossed my desk.

It made for sobering reading.

The relative rates of attacks upon aid workers has increased more than 60 percent in the last three years, with a particular upswing in kidnapping, which has increased by more than 350 percent. The most dangerous location for aid workers remains the road, with vehicle-based attacks by far the most common context for violence. And the 2008 fatality rate for international aid workers exceeded that of U.N. peacekeepers.…

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The Tired Samaritans

By Lisa McKay '03M.A.

I expected to lose some weight on this trip, I thought grimly, kneeling on the cold cement floor of the dorm’s bathroom. Just not all at once. I blinked the sweat out of my eyes and tried to read my watch. It was hard to focus. Three hours since it had started. I’d given up trying to figure out whether it could be malaria, hepatitis or dengue fever. Deciding whether I was actually on the right continent for dengue fever, or whether that was only Asia, kept me entertained for at least 10 minutes. But by 3 a.m. I was past that. I was just sure that whatever it was, I’d probably be dead by dawn.…

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