Culture

Vietnam Secret Ops Army Medic to Receive Medal of Honor from Trump

7 Oct , 2017  

President Donald Trump on Oct. 23 will award the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Gary Rose, an Army medic who was involved in secret operations in Laos during the Vietnam War. The Huntsville, Alabama, man during an assault on his unit in the jungles of Laos continued to treat wounded troops after being wounded himself, […]

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Travel

Wat Pa Houak, Phousi Mountain, Luang Prabang

2 Oct , 2017   Gallery

I have often seen this little temple at the base of the hill to the famous Phousi mountain. Phousi mountain is right in the middle of town and a popular place for tourists. There is a 150m walk to the top, a favourite spot for watching the sunset over a beautiful Luang Prabang. From the […]

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Education

School awards day 2017, Luang Prabang, Laos

1 Oct , 2017   Gallery

On a hot Saturday morning students, teachers, volunteers, and officials flocked to school for the annual awards day where students receive their much-admired certificates for their achievements from the prior year. The school year starts in September each year in Laos. The day started off with some fun games which everyone always enjoys and this […]

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Culture

Laos and Cambodia eliminate trachoma

1 Oct , 2017  

September 21, 2017, Helio.com Trachoma, the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide, has been eliminated as a public health problem in Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, according to a WHO press release. WHO launched the Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by the year 2020 in 1997, and in 1998 the World Health […]

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Travel

Trip to Tad Sae waterfall

22 Jul , 2017   Gallery

I got an unexpected invite to join friends and their neighbours for a trip to Tad Sae waterfall this Sunday. I had heard these waterfalls, one of two in Luang Prabang, had been dry but now as it’s the beginning of rainy season I thought there may be some water on this hot day. Unlike […]

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Transferring skills to teachers in Lao schools

Education

Helping English students at a local school – Luang Prabang, Laos

14 Jul , 2017  

I helped out a small class of eager high school students with their English lessons last week.  During the high school break, these students are taking a holiday class to improve their English skills. They go a small school set up in someone’s home in the center of Luang Prabang where two small classes of […]

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Travel

Kayaking the Ou and Mekong river to Luang Prabang

4 Jul , 2017   Gallery

I decided this week to take a day off and go kayaking down the Mekong River from just north of Pak Ou caves. I’ve visited the caves a few times before but never via the Mekong or kayaking. So I joined a tour and set out by tuk-tuk about an hour north of Luang Prabang. […]

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laos-blood-donation

Culture

Giving blood – Lao Red Cross

25 Jun , 2017  

Recently I took a morning off work to catch up on a few errands. One of these was to make time to give blood at the Lao Friends Hospital Visitor Centre n Luang Prabang. It was a simple process and everyone was very friendly. I had a finger pricked and tests were taken and a […]

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Education

Fun games to learn team skills

17 Jun , 2017  

The programme that supports and helps inspire our students had their final gathering for the school year. So much fun was had as they played a game together where one person in each team was blindfolded. All three has to hold two pieces of string attached to a rubber band. All three had to use the rubber […]

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Culture

A day in a Buddhist Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

11 Jun , 2017   Video

I love this temple, it always feels very peaceful. Tourists know Tak Bat as the age-old and picturesque daily Buddhist Alms Giving procession of the monks. This is a glimpse into daily life as a monk or novice and also a reminder to tourists how to behave at a temple and when observing Alms Giving. The […]

Novice monks trip in Luang Prabang Laos

Education

Student visit to Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden

4 Jun , 2017  

The Pha Tad Ke Botanical Gardens had an open day and we took some students across the Mekong River and downstream a little to these wonderful gardens that were opened about 2 years ago. You can see a diverse range of Lao flora and how people use plants in everyday life. They have a wonder […]

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Students complete computer exam in Laos school

Education

Students completed computer exams with good results

28 May , 2017  

This past week students have completed the end of year computer exams with very pleasing results. The exam consisted of a multiple choice test followed by a practical exercise where they had to create a  Word document utilising the skills they had learned this past school year. The elementary computing classes who come to school […]

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Education

Chasing your dreams

19 May , 2017  

This year school implemented a new mentor programme to support and inspire students in their life and work ambitions. A key aim is to provide extra support for those interested in helping students get better jobs. The Dream Catcher Mentor program meets each week during lunchtime. This week we had Teacher Mai come and share her […]

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Travel

Getaway to Northern Laos – Muang Ngoi

16 May , 2017  

This lovely photo was taken on the Mekong River in Luang Prabang before I was fortunate to be able to get away for 2 days to Nong Khiaw about 3 hours North Fron Luang Prabang. Nong Khiaw is a very small town divided by a bridge. It is very beautiful and most people take a […]

Education

A very cool music school in Luang Prabang

29 Mar , 2017  

The Music for everyone school (MES) give free music lessons and free use of instruments to help people who are interested in music so they can follow their interests. It is run by the very passionate Max who works with a team of Lao staff who run lessons in the three classrooms. They have fourteen acoustic […]

Education

Female Pilots breaking barriers

10 Mar , 2017  

Way to go girls! I hope your story inspires other Lao girls.

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Travel

Beware the voluntourists intent on doing good

3 Mar , 2017   Video

The term voluntourism refers to the growing phenomenon of individuals travelling to developing countries to carry out volunteer work.  They go for a week or two for a “project” — a temporary medical clinic, an orphanage visit or a school construction. Many go to teach English during high school, college vacations or during an OE/gap year. […]

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Culture

A glimpse into life in Luang Prabang

27 Feb , 2017   Video

In this 3 minute video, I show you a few scenes around Luang Prabang, life at the school where I volunteer and a brief insight to a village up river we got to by ‘long boat’. I will return soon to continue developing computer teaching programmes, running teacher training workshops and assisting Lao teachers in […]

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Food

What is the most delicious noodle soup in Laos?

21 Feb , 2017  

One of my greatest pleasures in Laos is eating some of the local soups. Kao soi is a must try. It’s available almost everywhere and a few street places are my favourite. Kao soi is a soup made with wide rice noodles, coarsely chopped pork, tomatoes, fermented soy beans, chillies, shallots, and garlic, then topped […]

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Education

Two students get 100% in recent computer test

18 Jan , 2017  

We teach Saturday IT classes and two students who come to classes to learn more advanced Microsoft Office skills have achieved 100% in their recent test. David put together the programme in 2016 after consultation with local businesses in Luang Prabang. The course focuses on Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and other topics such as anti-virus, safety […]

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Education

Teacher Lu’s story

10 Jan , 2017  

The School in Luang Prabang teaches English and Computer Studies to Lao students from disadvantaged families. The school is free and funded by donations. This is the story of Lu, the newest teacher at the school. “My name’s Lu. I was born on 12th March 1991 in a small village in the countryside, Xamneau district, […]

Culture

The UXO problem in Laos

22 Dec , 2016   Video

This is a great video by the COPE Centre Laos explains the unexploded bomb problem in Laos. The US Airforce in 1963 dropped the 1st bombs on Laos in what would be a 9 year Secret War. The daily reality is that 300 people a year are injured or killed by bombies (the small bombs released […]

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Culture

Decades on, millions of unexploded American bombs left behind still kill and maim in Laos

5 Dec , 2016   Video

Special correspondent Mike Cerre offers a glimpse of life in Laos today and the mission to end the deadly legacy of the Secret War.

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Education

Lao students enjoy computer studies

21 Nov , 2016  

Well the last few months has flown by. My main task has been to write the stage 2 curriculum in computing and train the Lao teachers. The reality has seen me also fixing many computers for students and teachers, and even other schools. I visited local businesses to discuss what IT skills they need of […]

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Culture

New Zealand Provides $11.5 Million to Support UXO Clearance in Laos

20 Nov , 2016  

New Zealand will provide an extra 11.5 million dollars to help clear unexploded landmines left over in Laos following the Vietnam war. US planes dropped more than 270 million munition in Laos between 1964 and 1973. Visiting Laos as part of the ASEAN summit, US President Barack Obama announced an extra $90 million to help […]

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Culture

A short film: New Day ຈົວຕົ້ນຄົນໃໝ່

10 Nov , 2016   Video

This short film made by students in the summer 2016 film class @ My Library in Luang Prabang shows the talent of young film makers as well as a glimpse into temple life as a Novice Monk.

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Culture, Education

Weekend trip to village to give donated items

6 Oct , 2016   Video

On Saturday volunteers and teachers travelled to Nam Nga village 90 mins north of Luang Prabang to see how we can help with their water supply, leaking roof and toilets at their village school. We also gave out the clothes, toothbrushes, books and stationery we collected. We had lunch with the headman and school director […]

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Education

Students loaned bikes to come to school

27 Sep , 2016  

The school has 18 bikes that are lent to students who have no bike or other means to get to school. Many walk a very long way. This week we are giving bikes to the most needy students but still over 10 people will miss out and likely not be able to come to class […]

Education

This past month helping Orphanages and School in Laos

21 Sep , 2016   Video

Time has passed quickly since late August when I stopped in Saigon, Vietnam. I joined Love Shines from Singapore on a mission to orphanages looking after youth with hydrocephalus, also called Water on the Brain. It causes enlargement of the head and is fatal. I visited two orphanages and we purchased supplies at local stores for these programmes. […]

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Culture

Laos US: Obama regrets ‘biggest bombing in history’ – BBC News

7 Sep , 2016  

Barack Obama announces a major funding boost for the removal of unexploded US ordnance in Laos though some question what real difference it can make. Source: Laos US: Obama regrets ‘biggest bombing in history’ – BBC News

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Culture

Boat Racing Festival in Luang Prabang, Laos 2016

3 Sep , 2016   Video

In Luang Prabang, Boun Suang Heua, or the Boat Racing Festival is held on Khao Padapdin, the Day of the Commemoration of the Dead  (in August usually but this year it was yesterday on 2 September). In Vientiane Capital it is held the day after the End of Buddhist Lent. Both are important social and […]

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Food

What is sticky rice – really?

27 Aug , 2016   Gallery

Firstly, Lao people are the biggest sticky rice eaters in the world. It is eaten at most meals if not all! Secondly I have left NZ and am on my way to Luang Prabang where I will son be indulging in sticky rice most days. Not many people what makes it sticky. It is the actual type […]

Culture

America’s shame: The unspoken danger of Lao’s hidden bombs

23 Aug , 2016  

It was learning about UXO, originally in Cambodia (2010) and then Laos (2011), that is one of the motivators if me becoming involved with my volunteer work. If you don’t know what happened, here is a brief article about the problem. Article by Dung Phan 21 Aug 2016 It was a cold day in Laos, and huddled around […]

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Education

House of Dreams

18 Aug , 2016   Video

I love this video. It shows a glimpse into people’s lives and how a simple opportunity can mean so much to those wanting to help themselves and help others. I hope to meet Ken when in September who I think is so inspirational for others and doing similar work helping others get a better education. […]

Culture

Thanks for donating

24 Jun , 2016  

I wouldn’t be able to do this volunteer work without support from others. The support of my IT clients allowing me e to work remotely and that of family and friends. I spend a lot of time gathering things that maybe old to us but of use to those struggling in Laos. This year, in addition to some […]

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Education

Gearing up for another Laos assignment

17 Jun , 2016  

It is amazing to have been given so many clothes to take to Laos. They will go to a village and hopefully all the kids will get something. I have already paid for two suitcases from Wellington, Auckland, Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok Luang Prabang. It is never easy getting to Laos. I wish to acknowledge […]

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Education

Project update Sept 2016

15 Jun , 2016  

In late 2015 I setup a computer teaching facility at the charity school in Luang Prabang. 280 students now get one computer lesson and 4 English lessons each week. With some assistance, I developed an ‘Introduction to Computing’ programme. GOALS for 2016 up-skill local Lao teachers in Information Technology, train a new Lao teacher as the […]

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Education

A request from Laos for a computer

2 Jun , 2016  

This week I received this email from a teacher who I work with in Laos. [EMAIL] Subject: Big problem Sabaidee Ajarn David How have you been doing? What’s the weather like there? So I really need your to help me. Because my brother who is studying engineer in Vientiane has problem as he really needs computer to finish his […]

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Travel

Laos town known for drunkenness and tourist deaths cleans up its act

12 May , 2016  

This great article by Claire Boobbyer gives a great overview of the town and beauty of Vang Vieng. “I want us to preserve the mountains of Vang Vieng, the river and the culture for the future,” Thanongsi Solangkoun told me as I sipped mulberry wine at his organic restaurant on the Nam Song river in Laos. […]

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Culture

Elephants in Luang Prabang for new year

16 Apr , 2016   Video

It is Lao New Year now (Pimai), one of the most important dates in the Lao calendar. Although officially a three-day festival in Luang Prabang, the party always goes on for at least a week. Officially the last day of the year, 13th April is traditionally a day of renewal, the main symbol of which is […]

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Travel

Unlocking Laos for the traveller

11 Apr , 2016  

This article recently published By Harry Bedford shows what a wonderful place Laos is for tourists. It is the only country in South East Asia with no beaches but they make up for it with beautiful people, mountains and waterfalls. Did I mention the food? This short articles will give you a good taste of […]

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Education

Laos’ garment industry declines due to labour shortage

9 Apr , 2016  

It seems a common theme in recent reports about Laos loosing out on work opportunists due to a poorly skilled workforce despite in past years being able to secure such investment. The World Bank Climate Assessment report made similar conclusions about the low productivity rate of Lao workers and shortage of skilled workers, including English. […]

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Travel

Archaeologists just found human remains in the mysterious ‘jar plains’ of Laos

6 Apr , 2016  

JOSH HRALA – 5 APR 2016 At first glance, the Plain of Jars in Laos looks like something out of an Indiana Jones film. The landscape is covered in clusters of stone jars, ranging in size from 1 to 3 metres tall, with some weighing in at over 10 tonnes. But what was their original purpose? […]

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Culture

Without mindfulness film

16 Mar , 2016   Video

“Without Mindfulness” a short film made at the summer filmmaking workshop @ My Library won first prize at the Vientianale film festival last night! Congratulations to the filmmakers novice Mai Latanavong Novice Bouasy, former Novice Somjai Soulivongvang and Novice Touly, and the others who helped: Vanhxai Thor Zua Lee Leeoneyang Yang and Youa Lao. Congratulations […]

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Education

If the world was 100 people

16 Mar , 2016  

When you shrink the world’s population down to 100 people, this is what you get.

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Culture, Travel

Magical Laotian Town Preserved by UNESCO Loses Its Soul

30 Jan , 2016  

This article by DENIS D. GRAY: AP has been posted on so many sites including NZ news media. There is a lot of truth to this. it is sad that locals are gone and their places taken by outsiders and foreigners. I feel that foreigners living in Luang Prabang seem to respect the local customs and […]

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Culture

Domestic violence in Laos

23 Jan , 2016  

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Culture, Education

Death of a school student

21 Jan , 2016  

Today has been a very sad day with the news of the death of one of the school students. We all realise that life can be snatched away very quickly in the developing world yet we still reel against its unfairness. Novice Luk celebrated his 21st Birthday just a few days ago. He was a […]

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Culture

How Roche enabled me to setup computer teaching in Laos

18 Dec , 2015  

In early July Peter a trustee of the charity school in Laos, spoke with me and asked if I was able to spend a few months in Laos to establish permanent computer teaching programme. I agreed to try and work something out and only days later I woke to a swollen arm and was admitted to […]

Education, Food

A computer centre is born in Laos

11 Nov , 2015   Video

A project is made of many parts. We send our thanks to the many people that have made it possible. We would like to record our very special thanks to David Allan for his endless work and spirit in giving the project life. Reposted from article written by Peter. The School Centre is a story of […]

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Culture, Travel

Luang Prabang temples

2 Nov , 2015   Video

Luang Prabang has 33 Buddhist temples. This short video is of some smaller less glamorous temples than Vat Xieng Thong for example. Sit back, relax and take in the peacefulness of Luang Prabang, Laos.  

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Travel

Trip to Pak Ou cave

28 Sep , 2015   Video

Teachers and volunteers from school went to Pak Ou by tuk tuk for lunch together. After lunch we crossed the river to the cave full of Buddhas. Neither the number of Buddhas or steps were counted. This is out day trip where you can see more of the beauty that is Luang Prabang.  

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Culture

Local Lao drummer

27 Sep , 2015  

ກຳເນີດອີກແລ້ວ ນັກດົນຕີບ້ານນາ ກັບຈັ່ງຫວະມັນມັນ! ວິດີໂອຈາກ: ໂຊໂຊແຄ້ມ

Culture, Travel

Delivering aid to three villages decimated by flash flooding

22 Sep , 2015   Video

On Saturday, teachers and volunteers from school in Luang Prabang joined friends from a Laos organisation Education and Sharing to deliver aid to three villages decimated by flash flooding at the end of the monsoon season. The villagers had no warning of the impending disaster as it had not rained for many days. Four people […]

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Education, Travel

Videos: Interviews | Awards Day | River Crossing – Luang Prabang

15 Sep , 2015  

Last week I was busy interviewing with 4 other teams. Over 350 people applied for the 200 places available. Mornings were very busy with many interviews and during the afternoon I took this footage showing some of the school and people who work and volunteer here. Awards day  

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Education, Travel

Free English Resource Centres in Luang Prabang

15 Sep , 2015  

MyLibrary and Big Brother Mouse are two projects in Luang Prabang where students can go for free to learn and practice English. Big Brother Mouse has many foreigners who drop in and speak with the students. MyLibrary runs other training such as photography and has computers and books available to students. Unfortunately so many people […]

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Culture, Food, Travel

September in Luang Prabang

13 Sep , 2015   Video

I have been busy everyday helping at school, setting up computers for the new computer teaching programme and other IT administration tasks. Laos is deeply rooted in Buddhist traditions and it does feel like time has stopped here especially in the centre where there is still a very strong colonial french feel. Last weekend I met […]

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Food, Travel

Arriving Lao PDR

29 Aug , 2015  

After much prep and planning the last month, I woke at 3.40am in Wellington, showered, dressed and walked my 30KG bag to the street to meet the taxi. It is a nice feeling not having to worry about too many things in the morning especially when it’s early. I had lived off lists this past […]

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Education

Establishing permanent computer classes in Laos

23 Jul , 2015  

I received a phone call in July from Peter Banwell a Trustee at LEOT School. Recently the school received 20 computers from the World Bank to set up a computer classroom. With no local resources to set up computers, networking, software on such a scale and establishing systems to allow the ongoing maintenance and availability of the systems, […]

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Education

Educating eager youth in Laos

22 Jul , 2015  

I have been volunteering at a charity school in Luang Prabang, Laos since 2013 providing IT equipment and training to teachers and students. This supplements their main courses of English. The students come from poor families and are hungry for knowledge! Laos remains one of the poorest world economies. The majority of families are subsistence farmers […]

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Education

Students eagerly stay behind at computer classes

21 Jun , 2015  

Earlier this year I taught 4 classes a day from 10am to 8pm, using the 10 laptops in the library. They were initially full of viruses and spyware which took some time to clean up before classes could begin. This year I taught the beginner stream – students who understood basic English. Luckily their usual Lao teacher was […]

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Culture

Donate your old smart phone

15 Jun , 2015  

Do you have an unused smartphone you can donate for a student in Laos? Laos is a communist country with a population of 6.477.211 people. The GDP per capita is $2700 USD, with 67% of the population living outside of urban centers. Laos has a very young population, with a median age of 21 years. […]

Food

Clean Drinking Water in Laos

12 Jun , 2015   Video

I fund projects using Kiva. With Kiva I make a small loan with many other people. People get the money they need and the loans are repaid over time. I then lend the same monies again. Recently I made a loan to Kari Derenzi who has reported back, “I am excited to share with you […]

Travel

Meeting the Laotians Clearing Their Country of America’s Unexploded Bombs

3 Jun , 2015  

I have posted similar information before, but people I speak with are often very surprised about this unknown history and current situation in Laos (perhaps a somewhat unknown and mysterious country) in relation to unexploded bombs (UXO). This article below is a great overview of both and every little share helps raise awareness of this tragic history […]

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Travel

About Lao PDR

13 Mar , 2015  

Thailand promotes itself as amazing, Vietnam can well be described as bustling, Cambodia’s Khmer temples are awe-inspiring… but the adjective that was most often applied to Laos is forgotten. Visitors who are drawn by the laid-back lifestyle and the opportunity to watch the sunsets on the Mekong will simply explain the attraction by revealing that the […]

Education

Walking to school in Laos

27 Jan , 2015  

I volunteer at an English teaching school that is free for the poverty-stricken 15-25 year old’s that are lucky enough to secure a place. It is a peaceful 30 minute walk from my guesthouse. Typically I have breakfast in the main street in Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang sausage is famous and an easy on the run […]

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Travel

Vang Vieng and Herbal Saunas

25 Jan , 2015  

You usually end up in Vientiane when arriving Laos, So to get to Luang Prabang I decided to go by bus and stop over in Vang Vieng. Vang Vieng was known as the party capital of SE Asia – ironic that it is in in the middle of a [quiet] landlocked country. It was a back-packer […]

Food

First day’s food in Vientiane

18 Jan , 2015  

I do like the food in Laos. It tends to be super spicy but not always. I caught up with some friends in their village in Vientiane, not far from Patuxai (the Gate of Triumph). We walked 3 minutes across the road to the street vendor to buy some lunch. I love these eggs which have been emptied and […]

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Education

A local Lao classroom

26 Nov , 2014   Gallery

Alan, a fellow volunteer visited a local home in 2014 where Mr Say has set up a classroom for local children. Alan was their first foreign visitor and it was the first time many of the students had used a computer. Alan got them to type their name and age. Most are between 8 and 22 […]

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Education

Support Lao children video

18 Aug , 2014  

Support Lao Children aims to eradicate poverty for all children in Northern Lao. They support 3 orphanages and implement medical and educational programs.

Education

Laos through my eyes – Peter

12 Jul , 2013  

A piece by Peter – LEOT trustee It was almost by chance that I first visited Laos in 2008. My plan to visit Myanmar with my wife Catriona had been cancelled at the last moment due to changed advice from the Foreign Office. With time off booked and nowhere to go I took out a […]

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