On Saturday, the 21st of November, more than 20 Lao and English teachers gathered at Ban Phang Heng Secondary School to celebrate the first ever “Falang-Friendship-Feast” (Falang is a very common name for white people of Western origin. It is a relict from French colonial time. The original meaning was “long nose”). It was another wonderful afternoon in Laos and everyone was looking forward to this event. Each of the two befriended nations agreed to cook their most delicious dishes. The Lao teachers made to perfection steamed and seasoned Nueng Pa Mak Nao (Mekong fish), fresh and spicy Tham Maak Hoong (green papaya salad) and Kaupak Saisinngau (vegetable and beef stir fry). The German teachers’ addition to our feast was a stunning potato salad and two sorts of pasta: Linguine all´arrabbiata and Linguine with a finger-licking good tomato-sauce with local sausage. The latter came straight out of the Lao-German-Italian fusion kitchen by our master chefs Sandro and Tobi. Dessert was also provided by our Lao friends in form of Maak Manggohn (Dragon Fruit) and Maak Mo (watermelon). While one dish after the other was placed on our festive table everyone´s mouth slowly but steadily started watering. The menu was accompanied by French red wine and, of course, Laos´ national drink, Beerlao on the Rocks. The different nationalities were randomly shuffled around our table so everyone could have a nice chat and train their ability for intercultural exchange. After an hour every oh-so hungry stomach was filled to the max. Everyone was now free to join different activities. Some gathered around the volleyball field, some tried not to break their bones at Sepak Takraw (Lao kickball, which is an absolute must see! Check out on youtube. It is somehow like a combination of volleyball and football, played with a small plastic ball) while others upgraded their social skills and intercultural competence levels. To round up the day DJ and semi-professional dancer Souvanh played some of his finest tunes. We danced and had a good laugh until the late evening and everyone went home with a good feeling.
The whole event was a great success. New friendships were made, everyone was able to learn from the other culture, we were able to learn some Lao words and we also taught them some German. We really hope that this event finds a sequel next year. Kop chai lai lai to everybody who was part of this.
Text and photos by T. Mayer