December 23 - Friday
Today was the day of shopping and meetings. After breakfast, we went to the market day in the city center. Phaly, her mother, her sister, her husband, Sengkeo and I, made some purchases, among others. I bought a pin for my mother from Mr. Phouvong's jewelry shop, one of the very busy branches. Back in the vicinity of the hotel, Ken and I visited Lao craft shops. We would like to exhibit their creations at our annual dinner in Winnipeg. I took the opportunity to buy cotton clothing which are super comfortable and cheap.
We then met Vilat Rattanavong and his associate at the Cubic Art Gallery and Consultancy. He studied marketing in France and Japan. He is the director of the consulting company, whom in his free time, strives to raise awareness of their culture and traditions, people and young people in Laotian villages, by creating books, videos, etc. The company also seeks to encourage the consumption of Laotian products such as local coffee. Mr. Rattanavong would like to visit Canada in the near future.
Then we went on the boardwalk near the Mekong to have a drink while passing by the super popular night market on Friday. The temperature is very pleasant tonight, 25 Celsius. We finished the evening at the Kap Khao Lao restaurant. In the company of Ken's family, we were able to eat once again delicious Laotian dishes: soups, salads, pork chops, fish lap, Beer Lao and water. Tomorrow I will return to Canada. Thanks to the Laotians for their warm welcome. It is too early to sum up our stay. However, it is certain that Laos is changing: more people, businesses and cars.
As for SKL, we see progress, more students and villages with schools. However, there are many needs to be met. More villages are gathering together to get schools together. Villages lack buildings or want new buildings.
Certainly, the work done by SKL is sincerely appreciated. Students are deeply grateful to donors everywhere (Canada, Singapore, USA, Australia, England, including Laos) for their help and unconditional support.