Courtney. July 29, 2010 @ 11:53
I'm way too tired right now to write about what happened in the village today, but before I forget I wanted to add a few things about Walker's blog from yesterday.For one, Danielle went home from the bar right after she realized she would be working with children the net day.As she mentioned, the other two and I carried on with our night, so when I woke up to our hostel manager with the note on the back of our hostel business card that said, "Danielle USA," I was a little confused. But then we brushed our teeth and got in a tuk tuk and it was all good from there.
Also, I don't know if she touched on this or not but when we walked into that school, which was basically a cement room (you can see in the photos), we walked into CHAOS.Walker and Jacqui are teachers but Kaberly and I had no idea what the hell we were doing, the 10 or so kids were ALL different ages and levels of experience with the English language, and we had absolutely no plan of attack.After we figured out that it would be best to divide and conquer things went a lot more smoothly. Ms. Walker had the white board and the kids on the benches (the larger group), I had three (more advanced) girls who really only needed to work on pronunciation, and Jax and Kabes took the little tiny ones.And I must say, from what I saw, they seemed to work very well with them.The kids were shy yesterday, but today was much different.Once again, Walker will explain it better than I can but yesterday we were strangers and outsiders to them and today we were their idols and best friends.
Their teacher told us that the kids told him they were 'very proud' to walk around the town with us.We felt the same, but Jacqui brought up a good point - did any Lao people think it was odd seeing four blonde, white Californian women walking around, holding hands with 10 Lao kids?Hope no one thought we were trafficking them….
Another thing I noticed was that the little girls would hold umbrellas over themselves and us when there was no rain and it was actually sunny.I know they do it because they want to keep their skin as light as possible, but can anyone ever appreciate what they have?I explained to them that we don't want to be white - we want our skin to be darker like theirs and that we think they're beautiful, but I left out the part about Americans' (Californians') obsession with tanning salons and how we will bake ourselves in a cancer ovens to get the aesthetic that the Lao people will do anything to get rid of.
I know Danielle mentioned this but each child at the school we're working with in Laos has to pay 500,000 Kip ($109.99) per year to attend grammar school.For the last 2 days I've watched their parents spend every second they have doing backbreaking work in rice paddies to afford this but, as the schoolteacher explained to me, they are not usually successful for more than a year or two.From what I understand, or have noticed, learning English will allow these children to get jobs in the tourism industry, which is something like 80% of Thailand's GDP, so I'm assuming Laos is similar. We're not sure how or what we're going to do about this but if anyone has any ideas let us know.