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The official opening of the Na Sam Liang Primary School in Lao

Monday, 13th December 2010

Dad continue's his intrepid travelling from Pakse in the South of Lao to open Na Sam Liang Primary School.

"Today I was collected from my hotel in Pakse by Koy and Manuela from Child's Dream for the now familiar trip to Na Sam Liang. There was however, one disappointement early on when we discovered our favourite coffee shop was closed so we were denied our "Cafe Lao". We were accompanied on our journey by another Child's Dream truck bringing the water treatment plant from Chiang Mai.

Unlike the previous year with Alex, the punt across the Mekong did not break down! We took the scenic route into Na Sam Liang and I sadly there was no improvement in the orad since our previous visit.

We eventually arrvied at the school and were warmly greated by the Headmaster, teachers, some 200+ children and an assortment of family members. We were comforted by the presence of 6-8 soldiers in uniform carrying automatic rifles (but no apparent sign of ammunition) and shod with army issue thongs! The Child's Dream crew began to unload the water treatment plant while we were very humbly treated likely royalty with a fresh cold and very welcome coconut to drink.

The school now finished was impressive and along with the ablutions block looked like a real school and all there appeared to be excited by their new school.

The opening ceremony got underway without the overt emotional display of Sop Muay, short speeches all round then we handed out the school caps we organised and sporting equipment.

We were treated to an excelllent lunch prepared by the village Mums. Squatting on a fragile plastic (child size) stool I managed to draw attention to myself with the stool giving ways and me sprawled on my backside. Tres embarrassing!

After teh opening ceremony the villager Monk asked us to go to the temple where he said some prayers for Andrew and to thank him for bringing the new school to the village. The Monk told me not to be too sad over Andrew's death as in his Buddhism they believed while the body may go, the spirit moves on to come back in a future life. I did not think too much about his comments at the timebut when I saw the miracle of Hudson, our new grandson I knew what he meant.

Most of the rest of the afternoon was spent providing moral support for the crew erecting the water treatment plant. In Pakse I had bought a large bag of sweets and I was mobbed by 200+ children when I started to distribute them! I know it was not much of a gift but I thought a small treat on a special day.

The crew installing the water treatment plant were to stay at the school until they finished their work and we would return in 2 days to collect all their tools. I was impressed with the ingenuity of the local villagers who jury rigged a belt driven generator off a rotary hoe to provide electricity forthe welders and power toools.

We left after a very special day to find overnight accomodation, a meal and a very welcome sleep!"

For more information about Na Sam Liang Primary School please click here.


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