• Crowd

    A groups of curious villagers looks on as the jeep carrying Halpern and others pulls away from this village's airstrip. The peak rising from the plain in the background is typical of the geology of th…

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  • Air views of village and surrounding area

    This village is divided by a small river that looks to have been diverted to feed smaller irrigation canals. The resultant island is where the village gets its name.

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  • Ban Done, south of Vang Vieng--air views

    A handmade footbridge across a mountain stream.

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  • Village store

    This tiny store in a village south of Vangviang in Vientiane province shows that commerce exists even in fairly remote villages. Indeed the point can be made that the more seemingly isolated the villa…

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  • Landing

    An Air America aircraft chartered by USAID, the American aid program, on which Halpern traveled to Ban Done.

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  • "Main street"

    Most Lao villages are set up around a central walk and a few crisscrossing lanes.

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  • Air views of village and surrounding area

    This photo was taken in the dry season; the green rice fields thus mean the farmers in this village have been able to double crop through irrigation.

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  • Mountain scenery

    This village, like others near Vang Vieng, is set amidst spectacular mountain scenery. Irrigated rice fields are in the foreground.

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  • Mountain scenery

    Mountains with this peculiar shape are formed from limestone, meaning that the area was underwater millions of years ago. In an ever more crowded world one does not have to look far to see the long-ra…

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  • Mountain scenery

    This is a near-duplicate of the previous slide, having been taken from a slightly different angle.

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  • Soccer field

    This soccer field also has a net set up for "kataw", a favorite sport of the Lao. It is like volleyball but with no hands used! Even in small rural towns there were organized sports at the schools.

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  • American visitors with Nai Ban

    "Nai Ban" means village head or chief. Halpern's traveling companions are walking away from him after their meeting.

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  • Ban Done air views

    As this photograph shows, Lao people in the foothills of mountains practice mainly wet rice agriculture with some slash-and-burn agriculture as a supplement.

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  • American visitors with Nai Ban

    Halpern's fellow American travelers talk to the village head of Ban Done, which is south of Vangviang in northern Vientiane province.

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  • Air views of village and surrounding area

    This is another village visited by Halpern and his traveling companions when they went to the Vang Vieng area. It is called Ban Done, meaning "Island Village."

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  • Children

    This village is called Ban Done. As it is near Vang Vieng, these villagers are more than likely Lao. However, there are many closely related Tai ethnic groups in the area.

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  • Ban Done, south of Vang Vieng--air views

    Some tiny "thiang hai", or sheds used for guarding and tending crops, can be discerned in this image.

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  • Generator

    The residents of Ban Done more than likely pooled their resources to purchase this generator rather than wait for the government to bring electricity to their village.

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  • Ban Done School

    This school is identified on its sign as "muat hong hian pathom seuksa ban dawn", meaning Ban Done Elementary and Junior High School.

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  • Dispensary

    The Lao version of the sign identifying this as a dispensary reads "hong maw pajam Ban Done", meaning that it is Ban Done's clinic for everyday medical needs.

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