Wednesday, December 9

After a very early breakfast at the Macchiato Coffee house, we drove out into the countryside to visit prospective villages for the next school construction project. The scouting process involves assessing the suitability of the location and community to meet our criteria including discussion with school and village representatives. Fortunately we had brought some sandwiches along for the drive, as it was a tight schedule given about five hours of driving were required. Fortunately, we found a potential village on our journey and still made it back to Savannakhet in time to catch our return flight to Vientiane. By coincidence at the airport, we crossed paths with a schoolmate of Ken's, Thaviseuth Phouthavong, one of the founders of SKL who now lives in the UK. We were lucky to have just enough time for a brief chat before our return to Vientiane via an unavoidable twenty minute stop in Pakse. Upon arrival in Vientiane we checked into the Douang Deuane Hotel close to the night market and enjoyed a late Chinese dinner at the Orchid Guest House nearby.

We were surprised to come across a slice of UK style hospitality in Savannakhet when searching for a breakfast spot to fuel up before heading out to scout potential villages for our next school project. A refreshment break during a village visit was spiced up by Boualay, who accompanied us, with local treats such as fresh tamarind, a sweet yet tangy tropical fruit that is actually the bean-like seed pod from a tree.

Christine Thammavongsa