Volunteer for the third time

In January 2014 I went to Laos as a volunteer for the third time. The family Phongsavath welcomed me so wholeheartedly! It took a while before I got used to the Laotian rhythm, but it's so nice to just have to do one thing at a time and to take it slowly. Before my arrival I had sent them 5 boxes filled with t-shirts and a bunch of pens and pencils. The family had left them unopened and kept them aside for me. They were very happy with what was inside.

One of the main tasks of the volunteers is to teach English in the weekends. It's fun. The kids (between 8 and 19 years old) are very enthusiastic. One hour 

before the class starts they start arriving. They love taking a book from the book shelves and reading a bit before class. They are used to reading aloud. They also really enjoy playing badminton. After class they stay around for a bit to draw and chat. Just like anywhere else there are some kids very motivated and serious, and some more playful who just come for the fun of it. I used all kinds of attributes while teaching, like a pan, a plate, cutlery, a clock, a chair etc. I also taught them the song “Head, shoulders, knees and toes”. “Row, row, row your boat” was a little harder, but we sang it a few times every class and it went better each time.

I was invited for a wedding, went to a funeral and was at a temple celebration. On all these occasions people were really friendly to me. I had the feeling I was part of the community. It was an unforgettable experience. I bought reading books in Vientiane and gave them to 4 local schools because they didn't have any. Textbooks are rather rare, too.

I had a great time and I have lots of warm memories thinking of the friendly people I met. I hope I can go back another time.

Ellen