Follow up in Kho Kram village
ASAS knows very well Kho Kram village. We have done various actions there, as construction of sanitary blocks, the extension of the school building and hygiene workshops, etc…
This time we came to make a clothes distribution and make a follow-up of the hygiene lessons.
This visit was positive in every way. On one hand we could see that the sanitary blocks, which were built more than one year ago, are very clean. On the other hand, the hygiene principles are well integrated and known.
This action meant the end of the distribution of the 4 tons of material which were brought back from Switzerland by container in July 2016.
Ban Padheng et Ban Phou Panack
The day was all about swallowing heaps of dust and facing a few fears on the road whilst sat at the rear of an unstable truck in order to reach these two small mountain villages.
We discover Ban Padheng for the first time. 65 families live there. As in many villages, the activity within the rice fields, the cutting of wood and the breeding of a few chickens punctuate the daily life of its inhabitants.
The small school is made out of bamboo and rests directly on the bare ground. Water supply has been installed in the village for a few months, but the school does not yet have sanitary facilities.
The distribution of clothing is carried out, hygiene workshops are undertaken, and hygiene kits (toothbrushes, soaps and toothpaste) are provided to every child.
This was the ASAS’ first visit to the village. We were therefore able to assess the immediate needs that will now be part of our priorities for our next actions.
The second village, PhouPnack (the dragon mountain), the ASAS is familiar with. In 2014, it had built sanitary facilities, provided the school with a library of more than 200 books and all the school supplies required to give out decent and worthy education, games and hygiene kits.
We are warmly greeted by the village chief and the teachers. After distributing clothes to the families, we refresh their minds with a quiz and songs concerning hygiene. Then, hygiene materials are given out to every child.
The village surprised us with the organization of a bacci ceremony; a wonderful moment filled with emotions.
We set off again on the dusty track, already thinking about our next visit to the dragon mountain. The school lacks benches and desks, and we well intend to find the necessary funds so that each student can have its own seat in class.
Our distribution rounds go on. This time we went to Thongkhung. This is the village where small Jo lives (the boy who was taken in charge by ASAS for a cleft palate operation in Luang Prabang).
We were warmly welcome and the very official distribution went on smoothly: one bag for each family. The chief of the village called one member of each family according to the village register.
After that, the villagers had prepared a surprise for us and we were invited to a meal with them.
Once more we could see that those who give most are the ones who have less.
On the road again….. It was a very busy day as we wanted to visit 7 primary schools in Pakou district. At each stop, story-telling, games and songs were accompanied by the kids’ laughter and smiles.
Clothes for winter season
Winter has arrived. Cold and humidity are then big problems for the poorest. ASAS goes to Ban Phoumock. Although this village is situated not far from Luang Prabang, the poverty of certain families is shocking.
As he saw the way some people lived, Onchan told me: « They live in houses for hens! ». About ten families live there. They live, or more exactly survive, thanks to their activity of collecting recycable garbage.
Most of this garbage can’t be recycled in Laos as there are practically no waste treatment installations in this country. This garbage is then sold and most of it is sent to Vietnam. With this very small income they can’t afford to improve their houses in order to protect them from the cold or to buy some warm clothes which are expensive because they are imported.
When we were there, each family received what was necessary (blankets and warm clothes) so that they can better livre through the winter.
There is always a first time and the idea of sending a container was one of these. After much effort, doubt, sweat and cold sweat, our container arrived in Bangkok harbor.
But the hardest the was to come : transportation by truck to the Lao border, unloading of the material, loading it again on two trucks for the last 10 hour trip between Vientiane and Luang Prabang and the last unloading…..
Everything is over and all the material has arrived. Next step: sorting of the material and bringing it to the villages. Another adventure which we will tell you about in a next newsletter.
By tuktuk, by boat or by truck, ASAS has criss-crossed several provinces in order to distribute the material that has been sent by container from Switzerland.
In each school or learning center, animations were given according to the needs: hygiene workshop, outdoor games, musical animations, etc…
Hygiene products, school material, library books rounded up the material which was given to the children and families.
This first “round” made it possible for more than 700 children and the inhabitants of 8 villages to get essential goods.