At the conclusion of our harrowing journey through the mountainous northern regions of Laos, we have emerged to find a much colder climate in Phonsavan, the likes of which suit most of our Michigan counterparts and leave new Vietnamese friends donning cardigans and long pants.
Luckily this gives us all a chance to make use of our scarf purchases from Hanoi - the likes of which we thought would be dead weight in our suitcases during 36 hour return flights. This is good news!
This leg of our trip begins at the Xieng Khouang Hotel for our first night not requiring air conditioning.
This component of our service project takes us to the Xiangkhaung Library for 3 days of painting, landscaping and french-fry eating (with chopsticks, naturally). We began our first day sanding the outer walls of the library in preparation for a new coat of primer and paint, a festive coral with maroon trim.
The majority of our two days to date have been spent with the current staff of librarians and some local children for added guidance in the finer points of painting. The library sits on a former UXO site which has now been cleaned up to make way for both a local museum and our project. The library project we are working on exists in the wider scope of the Lao Library Project (http://www.libraryoflaos.com/), an NGO begun by an American Veteran originating in Vietnam with corollary projects in Laos and Cambodia. The project looks to create central librarys in each of Laos 100 provinces with room to create smaller satellite facilities to serve the greater populations in these countries with multi-media resources.
Many of the sites picked housed former UXOs with the intention of replacing bombs with books and creating a place for humanitarian efforts and community building.
We look forward to completion of our small part in this exciting effort and doing some touring later in the week around this historic area in the heart of the mountains.