When I think of Laos, my heart immediately connects to the country of my birth. The country of my father, mother, and grandparents. The country where I have so many precious memories full of endearing moments of my youth. The country which I love and am re-discovering all over again after nearly 30 years of being away. I have returned.
As I stepped off the plane, the air felt different. I felt different. The fragrant hint of the Champa flowers took me back to my first day of school where my mother (or was it my father?) pinned a flower in my hair. I remember the excitement as I checked my bag for the 10th time making sure I had everything. My father and brother, Mickey, walked with me that day. I can still hear his voice: “This is the path that you take, only walk along this road. If you veer off, the nagas, tigers and ghosts will come get you!”
My father told Mickey and I as we ran ahead of him screaming happily as he pretends to struggle to catch up to us. My father took my hand and stared down at me. I saw the worry in his eyes. It was not from leaving me at school.
I'm Sera and I hope this blog spreads awareness of Laos' fight against unexploded ordnance and the plight of survivors. It also helps me share my family's story and allows me to take action and #lightnewlegacies.