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History and Culture of the Khmu People

The Khmu, pronounced kəˈmu, people is a large minority ethnic groups that is spread across the central highlands of Asia including sections of Northern and Central Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Southwestern China. Throughout their range, they are recognized as a separate ethnic group with the exception of those living in China where they fall under the official designation of undistinguished ethnic peoples (rough translation from Chinese). They are known by various names including Khamu, Kemu, Khammu or Khơ Mú depending on the specific area where they live but as would be expected, share a common language with only slight variations in dialects being noted and generally recognizable customs across the entire region. Khmu Population Distribution As can...

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Preserving Laotian Culture, Empowering Women and Building Bridges of Hope

As most of us move through our daily lives; talking on our cell phones, driving around town, buying groceries in supermarkets and living in heated and air-conditioned comfort, it is easy for us to forget that there is an entire world of people out there that have little to no idea what many of these experiences are like. In the landlocked, Southeast Asian country of Laos, there are many people who would fall into this category. For the most part isolated from the rest of the world by the rugged mountain forest terrain that makes up their home, they still live life much as their ancestors have for the last 5000 years. Subsisting by growing their mountain rice sans mechanical...

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Why Biking?

Like many people my age, I grew up riding a bicycle. It wasn’t just for fun, but was practical transportation from my rural home a few miles outside our small Wisconsin town to wherever I wanted to go from the age of 10 or so until I got my driver’s license.     Now more and more people are biking, and the reasons are many and varied. After years riding a bike very sporadically (as evidenced by the dust and cobwebs I needed to clean off each time I took mine out of the garage), a few years ago I finally ditched my old 10-speed and got a new hybrid bike with a comfortable seat, which I’m trying to use more...

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