Vietnam War relics are used as everyday objects in Laos and are integrated in the country’s society and its people’s lifestyle in the most practical, creative and ingenious way possible.
Although the Vietnam War officially ended in 1975, the remains of the battlefields are still very much alive today both in Vietnam and in neighboring countries like Laos. The US dropped over 270 million bombs over Laos, which means approximately 2 million tons of bombing material.
According to The Vintage News, based on statistics, planes dropped bombs over the country once every 8 minutes for 9 years! Laos is now considered the most heavily bombed country per capita throughout history! Pretty shocking what freedom and democracy can do to a country and its people, right?
Today, after 4 decades since the Vietnam War ended, many bombs that didn’t explode can be found in Laos’ countryside. An estimate shows that 30% of the bombs dropped by America over Laos didn’t explode and are placed over the country, buried underground and can detonate at any given moment.
Photographer Mark Watson went on a bicycle trip across Laos to document the country and its people and was shocked to see how people were converting war relics into everyday objects. In most cases, when people try to open bomb casings in order to sell them as scrap metal, explosions occur due to the fact that the bombing material is still active.
Vietnam War relics are used as everyday objects in Laos, such as planter boxes, cowbells, canoes, house foundations or as simple cups and buckets.
Old Vietnam War US airplane used as a boat.
Bomb casing used for decorative purposes.
Emptied bomb casing used as flower planter.
Emptied bomb casings used as a house foundation.
Buckets made from dismantled bombs.
Cowbells made from war relics.
House foundation made from emptied bomb casings.
Canoe made from empty bomb casing.
Active bombs placed to be sold as scrap metal.