'For Adventures of a lifetime'

Friday, 7 December 2012

Luangprabang to Project (Ba Na Village) – The Other side of Life

Every day before dawn in Luang Prabang there is a traditional ceremony called Takbat. This is when the monks walk the streets and receive goods from the people. We had the option to experience this cultural event but we had to get up at 5.30. Surprisingly only Alice, Nottle and Po got up as everyone else was still fast asleep. Everybody else had to meet in the hotel lobby at 7:45 as we were meeting our in-country agent, ‘Song’. All the boys failed to meet at this deadline as they thought it was 8:00 (Ed. It was 8.00am I would put my wages on it :-/), Luckily for them Song was 30 minutes late. After our meeting with Song we all went out for breakfast at Lao Lao Garden, the same restaurant we had gone to for dinner the night before, although the last people to receive their food had been waiting about 2 hours for it. This put us on the back foot in relation to our timings for the day.

After breakfast some people went shopping around Luangprabang to get books and pencils for the kids in Ba Na village where we would be starting our project. Other people including Cassidy, Jayden, Alison, Glen, Ellis and Ffion walked around the town to find a new pair of hiking boots as Ffion had misplaced hers (Ed. I think we mean lost!), after a while we found a place and bought some boots which were better and cheaper than before. When we got back to the hotel everyone was taking their packs down stairs to the lobby to be loaded onto the tuk-tuks. We had to get three tuk-tuks to the Mekong River to catch a boat across to the other side where we caught two bigger tuk-tuks to the village where we are to undertake our project.

Upon our arrival at the village Jayden and Alison had to change into their longer pants as it is disrespectful to have shorts above the knee. As we walked down into the village some of the school students greeted us by presenting flowers and it seemed like the whole village had come out to welcome us al. We were then taken to our home stays and settled in before taking a tour around the village.

In the village there are 400 people and 92 houses and many animals running around, the kids here are very nice and happy. However, facilities are very basic, most houses not having electricity or running water, consequently most of the villagers collect and bathe in water from a centralised hosepipe. Life seems to be harsh here but most people seem happy with what little they have and a real sense of community prevails. Our meals are cooked and prepared outside on open fires by 5 women, helped along by our group. The food is very basic and traditional and very different to what we are use to in the west (Ed. rice prevails here for almost every meal but it can be either steamed, fried or even sticky (yum) and helped to taste better by adding some of the local chillies :-)).

After the tour we decided our groups for the next three days as we would alternate between cooking, teaching and construction. Before dinner we got a vortex (throwing missile type thing) and pumped up some footballs, we then told some kids to get their friends and they led us through the village to their school oval/playing field. As we were walking more and more kids joined and by the time we got there about 50-60 kids had joined to play. When we gave them the sports equipment they went crazy and we all joined in with them. We had been there for 2 hours and it started to get dark so we walked all the kids back to their houses and by that time we had made friends with the little kids. About an hour later we had dinner which consisted of sticky rice, lotus soup and cooked vegetables which people enjoyed, after dinner all the boys did the washing up which was a lot of plates while the girls sat around the table and played card games while the kids came over to watch (Ed. the guys get a rough deal on this trip :-/ lol).

Back at the home stays all the girls set up their mats and mosquito nets while the boys in their home stays played cards, later all the girls had showers with a flannel and played cards as well as eating oreos (YUM!) (Ed. they can only last so long hahahaha). At 9:00 it was lights out, the girls stayed up a bit later as we couldn’t get to sleep but the boys fell asleep straight away.

We’re all looking forward to our day tomorrow interacting with the locals of this remote village.

Jayden, Cassidy and a little bit from Alice as she had to go do construction.

No comments:

Post a Comment