Wednesday, the 5th of October, was a very sunny morning. Instead of going to school as usual, the teachers of Ban Sikeud Secondary School picked us up at our home, to take us along to Naxaythong Upper Secondary School. On this day the pupils had a day off, because their teachers were invited to the annual “Teachers’ Sports Competition”.
Every year the teachers of the local Upper Secondary and Secondary Schools meet on the school grounds of Naxaythong High School to find a new proud owner for the “sportive bragging rights”. As part of the staff, we were asked to help our Lao colleagues win some trophies for our school, and we were happy to oblige. On our way we stopped by at Mr Khamsing Nathavongdouangsy’s house, where his friendly wife Mrs Souksada Nanthavongdouangsy gave every one of us a blue team shirt with the school’s logo on it. We were happy about this present and wore it with pride.
At our arrival, we saw that lots of teachers of different schools already competed against each other in several disciplines: In Pétanque, a kind of national sport in Laos and one of the remnants of French colonial times, in table tennis, and tug-of-war. Our ladies Pauline, Silja, and Kerstin joined the women’s tug-of-war team, whereas Thorsten and David were cheering for the team.
After 3 exhausting rounds the Ban Sikeud Secondary women’s team reached the final round against Phonthong School. The team now joined their best forces and won the trophy in an exciting final with 2:1.
Everyone was full of joy and finally hungry for lunch. We went into a small restaurant where we had the time to chat and laugh together. After that we returned to Naxaythong High School to watch our teachers’ Pétanque team and to play table tennis for fun. The time spent on the Pétanque grounds was also a time of socializing with the English teachers of the other schools taking part in the competition.
In the evening after the competition we celebrated the victory of our Mr. Thavixay Salichanh and the third place of Mr. Sackbong Boulaphan in the men’s table tennis contest in a restaurant, with food, Beerlao, and karaoke – in Lao and English, of course.
When we finally went to bed – completely exhausted from another day full of interesting encounters and excitement – we were happy to have been part of the school’s team. We were (and continue to be) astonished by the teachers’ team spirit, which cannot only be seen in sports, but which we also witness during daily life at school.
Text & photos by D. Schrep & P. Kern