Deciding what THE highlight of my Laos experience was is an impossible task as my time in Laos was bristling with so many highlights. One thing, however, clearly stands out – one thing I have been thinking about many times: the heart-warming friendliness and openness of our Laotian friends and colleagues. Imagine someone from a foreign country enters your comfort zone. What would it be like? How would you react? Against all scepticism, every single person I encountered in Laos faced me in a more than welcoming way. They were more than happy to have us in Laos and did not waste an opportunity to show it. Very often, I was invited by Lao colleagues but also by random people I met in the streets. One evening, I had dinner at a food stall of fairground people (they had some stalls where you throw darts at balloons). My dinner time met with theirs so they invited me to sit with them behind their shack and we shared the meal. Such lovely people!
The children are also very special.
Lao children are amazing: they always smile and you hardly see them crying or even being unhappy. From the very beginning, they were keen on meeting us and engaging with us, so it was really hard to say goodbye to them. But check out yourself and click here.
There are two people I would like to mention in particular: Mittaphone and Bounleud! Despite the fact that they live a modest life, they opened their houses and invited me and some others for dinner multiple times. These events were always amazing and they showed us such great hospitality. Compared to other countries I have been to, the Lao people belong to the friendliest I have met. Khop chai lailai!
A teaching highlight took place in the schoolyard of Sikeud Primary. During lunch break I sometimes had to make my way through hordes of pre-schoolers screaming and shouting “Good afternoon, Tobi”. Every now and then I checked their English progress by asking them “What’s your name?” If I was lucky I could expect a “My name is …”. This one time it was different. This time, little Sonya did not only answer my question with “My name is Sonya”, but asked me “What is your name?” in return! This was the first time one of the students seemed to have understood the concept of conversation. It was an amazing and happy moment. I could have cuddled her.
Definitively worth mentioning are my adventures on the motorbike. You can learn more about them here.
Text and photos by T. Mayer