Buy Books For Laos Kids
Louang Namtha, Laos
Buy Books For Laos Kids Louang Namtha Reviews
Feb 13, 2008
In the dusty town of Louang Namtha in Northwestern Laos there is a non-profit organization called Big Brother Mouse dedicated to bringing literacy to the smaller villages in Laos. You can find signs pointing the way to the storefront through the main streets of the town.
My first night in town I wandered into the night market drawn by all the candlelight. Each table is lighted with a candle or two while cooks dish out their meal for that night. I chose a table at random, sat down and had my now habitual bowl of noodles. There was a young local sitting next to me and we struck up a conversation. I was looking to take a trek into the jungle from here but learned from Khout that the hike is pretty unimpressive. 2 days of hiking through rice paddies and only one in jungle.
As the conversation continued I learned that Khout works for a non-profit organization. He said that the Laos children only have text books to read so to encourage reading this organization brings fun children's books written in Lao and English to these children. He said if I bought enough (30$ worth) he would take me out himself to the village to deliver the books to the village chief. I decided that my money was much better spent in this fashion than treading through rice paddies.
So I met him the next day in the storefront of the office and off we went on his little moto to an outlying village. There we went to the chief's stilthouse where his wife poured us medicinal tea. The cheif looked the books over and his curious children were soon pouring over them. He thanked me and we were on our way.
I asked to see the school where these children go and I was pretty surprised to see the conditions of the "new" school (the old one was disintegrating on the same property made completely out of bamboo). There were no chalkboards, barely any books and only benches (no desks). However there were still happy children's drawings taped to the wall.
Khout invited me to have dinner with his friends that night. I accepted and we headed out to pick something up for dinner. Now I was pretty sure we weren't going to get a nice bottle of Chianti and a cheese wheel, but I was still pretty surprised when we took home two live ducks.
I watched as Khout and his friends used every part of the duck to make a blood chili. The blood drained from the duck provided the broth while the innards (stomach and intestines) were the meat. The rest of the duck was boiled whole. I was told that the head is most desirable part of the duck and that was given to Khout's father (the parents eat first, children after). I was scared to try the chili, but I couldn't taste the tang of the blood at all as the many local spices covered the flavor. Many shots of rice whiskey were poured during the meal and I was a little tipsy on the ride home.
All in all it was quite a rewarding day and a very unique glimpse into the village life of the Lao people.
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