2014/5 Season Quickly Drawing to a Close

It is hard to believe that another season has pretty much come and gone, with the last project well underway and our last small project expected to be completed over the next couple of days.

We had lots of amazing visitors this year, lots of trials and tribulations with our projects but in the end, I wouldn’t trade any of these experiences for the world. Each year I learn more about the Laos culture and gain an even better understanding of how they think – it helps me to do my job better.

I suppose the most surprising thing that happened this season was that as I was watching our dollar drop and our expenses rise, I was re-evaluating which projects I would have to cancel or postpone…or downsize.  Low and behold, donors came out of the woodwork…and not just a few.  As a result, I did have to cancel a small toilet project but that was all.  All of our main projects remained intact.  There will be another posting of the last main project, just before I leave.

At this time of year, it is important that we review all of our requests for next year.  We have already approved one project, in partnership with http://www.SKLInc.org to build a secondary and high school in the Sayaboury province.  As far as water filter go, I think we have requests for well over 1000 and are reviewing plans for another water project and individual toilets for a village of 250 families – the families currently go down to the Mekong River to do their business…not exactly hygienic.  These toilets will not be like the ones we traditionally build but we will supply some materials and one engineer to assist the villagers in building their own.

Here are a couple of the projects we hope to do next year, with a little help from our friends…okay, a LOT of help from our friends.

Namsong school is located

Namsong school is located about 250km northwest of the Capital city of Vientiane.  It is just inside the border of Sayabouri province and serves two villages fro Luang Prabang Province and two from Sayabouri.  You can no doubt see that they need a new secondary school.  The new school will feature lower secondary (4 grades) and high school (3 grades).  Due to the size and expected cost of the school we will collaborate with SKLInc, another Canadian Not-For-Profit organization with similar visions and accountability protocols.

Currently the school serves 395 (equivalent to our grades 6-12) in 6 classrooms.  I can't imagine trying to learn there during the monsoon season, can you?

Currently the school serves 395 (equivalent to our grades 6-12) in 6 classrooms. I can’t imagine trying to learn there during the monsoon season, can you?

We hope to raise about 1/2 of the estimated $80,000 USD cost for this school.

We hope to raise about 1/2 of the estimated $80,000 USD cost for this school.

This village needs water - right now, only one tap in the village works...just barely.

This village needs water – right now, only one tap in the village works…just barely. If you look at the end of my finger, on the foothill behind, you will see an indentation.  This is where there is a river with plenty of water for all.  Preliminary cost estimates are 130,000,000 kip or a little over $20,000 Canadian.

Their school looks to be in pretty rough shape too.  We won't be able to build  new school next season but perhaps the season after.

Their school looks to be in pretty rough shape too. We won’t be able to build new school next season but perhaps the season after.  This is primarily a Hmong village…meaning lots of kids.  Most other tribes generally have 2 or 3 but 4 kids would be considered a small family and often have as many as 10!

We will also need to add water filters for every family in the village…add that to the long list of requests.  The filters have done wonders for the villages that have them…and the word has definitely spread.

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