Author: Little Laos on the Prairie

Learning to Breathe

Originally posted on Phayvanh Luekhamhan:
“No one has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.” – Zelda Fitzgerald Last month, I went to visit a cardiologist for the first time in over 10 years. He took notes in thick blue script as I recounted my history. The catheter in ’84. My last echo. The full-term pregnancy. My child’s death. I couldn’t remember the details when he asked me for them. Decades had passed, much of which involved deliberate forgetting. And I didn’t want to get the details wrong. He asked me how she died, and what I told him then was this: “She was born with a malformed heart.” “I’m sorry.” “That’s OK.” What I should have told him was this: The right side of her heart was hard. There was no valve. A few blood vessels connected her heart to her lungs, and she was given medicine to keep that connection active until another more permanent solution could be found. “They had to do surgery,” I said. “It didn’t go well.” I was 21 years old…

Lao American returnee organizes first official Vientiane International Half Marathon

It’ll be three years since Thouni Seneyakone permanently moved back home to the cozy capital of Vientiane. Almost a decade ago, we were just nimble freshmen at the University of Minnesota, learning the art of planning cultural events as board members of the Lao Students Association. From Laos to Minnesota at the age of 10 and now back to Laos as an adult, it’s been a journey that’s come full circle. “Returning to Laos to work and live here has always been my goal.” On a typical day at sunrise, you can catch an energetic Thouni and her running group ‘Team We Run’ jogging along the streets of Vientiane. An avid runner and sports enthusiast, Thouni and friends formed Events for Good, a socially-conscious sports event planning company based in Vientiane, which focuses on “organizing sporting events to promote healthy, active lifestyles and raising funds to help local communities.” This March 6th, Thouni is organizing the Vientiane International Half Marathon, the first in the capital city to be backed by many big supporters, including the Lao government. More than 500 local and international runners …