There are so many wonderful images presented by Karen Longwell, it is really difficult to choose! Let’s start with the performers who waited so patiently for us to complete the formal part of the ceremony and to get the sound system going. None of this would have been possible without the generous support of Jai Lao Foundation for the construction of the school.
Now it is our turn – although not quite as glamorous.
With the end of the ceremony, out day was by no means finished. Hat Kham had grown by a few families since last year AND informed us that there would be another 23 new kids going to school next year, with only 5 kids graduating grade 5 (thereby leaving public school). It disturbs me to know that out of an average class size of 20-25 students at the start, that only 5 kids make it through public school. I wonder how many, if any will make it to secondary school. Note that 17 of the children here are sponsored by our generous donors.
So onto our next phase. We still had to teach hygiene to the new families and distribute a few more water filter systems. I tried a new trick this time. It is customary to wash your hands before dinner, right? It is for the villagers too. However whoever eats together, washes their hands in about 4 inches of water in a bucket, then dries them on a dirty towel – yes everyone shares the same bucket. So this time I brought some blue sparkles from home, sprinkled some in the bucket and on the hands of a couple of villagers – they were then asked to wash it off in the bucket and dry their hands (along with other villagers who did not get the sparkle treatment. Guess what, blue sparkles were everywhere. Once I explained that they should imagine the blue sparkle to be bacteria causing sickness, it was like a light bulb went on in their heads. That was really cool.
So finally we were off to the village of Muang Ngoi to get some rest after a lot of Lao Lao (rice whiskey) and beer Lao. First thing in the morning we headed to the village of Sup Khong to roll-out enough water filters for the entire village of 68 families. I really respect this village too. After visiting many villages there are a number of them that stand out from the rest. They are hard workers, yet gentle and they get along really well with each other. Others do not and often spend more time trying to figure out how to coerce and conive against the sponsors – yes, they tend to shoot themselves in the foot.
Anyway, here are some of the highlites from thishighly respected village.
As we left this village, we noticed that there was some business being conducted. We took a closer look and were reminded of one of the reasons we were there. Villagers often finnd bomb fragments in the jungle and bring back the metal for resale….a very dangerous practice. It was a pretty quick reality check for us.