A visit out to Ms. Keo's home
Recently the volunteers who joined us in Luang Prabang have been able to experience a number of cultural and religious activities, which helps them to better relate to the students that they teach, strengthen their understanding of Laos culture and provides a different perspective of their students and surroundings.
GVI Laos partner and Luang Prabang entrepreneur, KK, gave a culture talk about women’s changing role in Laos. She detailed her story about searching for self-determination while living in a deeply traditional Lao society where the woman’s role is still often confined to the private sphere. Drawing on her story, she was able to give volunteers significant awareness regarding gender roles in Laos, and provide an understanding about the cultural and social barriers faced by women in relation to education and economic participation.
Ms. Keo is a Lao teacher who has joined us on the National Scholarship Program (NSP). Ms. Keo has been conducting Lao lessons twice a week for the volunteers. This rare opportunity to learn Lao from a native speaker has been a wonderful cultural experience and has allowed volunteers to put themselves in their students’ shoes; providing them with valuable insight into the difficulties of learning a language. Volunteers have then applied this new understanding to the lesson planning process and adjusted teaching techniques to reflect this.
Ms. Keo also gave a culture talk about the education system in Laos and the realities associated with balancing the pressure to securing basic needs and seeking an education in a developing country. Additionally, the volunteers also had the unique opportunity to visit Ms. Keo’s farm located in a village across the Mekong River where few tourists explore. They were shown around the farm; they learned about the process of growing mushrooms in a sustainable way, how to fish with a net, and discussed the benefits and difficulties associated with farming in Laos. They then received a Lao cooking lesson and left with full bellies, tired feet but happy hearts.
Finally, volunteers and staff were lucky enough to be invited to two temples. The first was at Wat Boupha Vipassnaram where they participated in the daily chanting and meditation. The second was at Wat PasaViet, where volunteers were invited by a student and ex-novice to attend their candlelight ceremony for the beginning of Buddhist Lent.
These experiences have allowed volunteers to better relate to their students and strengthened their understanding of religion and culture in Laos.
Thank you for your continued support!
Buddist Lent ceremony