Just another day in paradise
August 12th 2010-Walker
To those who give, all is given....
Today was another tutoring day; only this time it was very random as most things in our travels are. I walked inside a store called "Big Brother Mouse," asking questions about volunteering and how I can help tutor children or monks in need of practicing English. This organization is the same one I bought books from for the village kids and works throughout Laos trying to deliver books to the villages that are unable to attend school. On somedays, if the students can make it into town, they can be tutored or taught for free by this organization and are usually in search for volunteers. To my disappointment, he had no use for my English expertise today (I know England invented the language, I hear that enough, but Americans perfected it, so back off) and there was nobody in his class or office to tutor. Or so I thought.
He looks at me with his eyes lighting up and asked if I have some spare time today. That was the only reason I walked into his shop so of course I said "that's what I am here for." Then, he asked if I could help practice his English and teach him a few grammar lessons. This man is a much older student than I am used to, but I accepted and we spent half the day going over grammar lessons and pronunciations. Not that I have anything against teaching adults, but my heart belongs with the children. That is, until this man stood up and I realized he must have had a stroke and could not use the entire left side of his body. Again, this shouldn't have made any difference in who I teach, but of course it did. I felt awful for even judging or regretting walking into his store. As the day went on, the more he stood up and tried to show me books, lessons, computers, etc. he taught me more and more about myself. Not just the Laos language, but how lucky and fortunate I am to be healthy and able to move like I can.
The day came to an end when we realized my hotel's WiFi reached his shop. I ran over to the lobby, had them set the password up for his computer (lying my ass off that this was my new computer I just had purchased moments earlier, even though it looked at least six years old), and he was good to go. Free internet is a luxury and everyone here appreciates when they can communicate via email or surf the net. I brought his computer back and there he was playing with my itouch I had left for collateral. I have an application for flashcards and he was going to town repeated every word and then spelling it. Wonderful moment, another good day spent with a very appreciative and pleasant person. Oh my Buddha, I am truly blessed.
Another highlight was dinner. The four of us girls have been working quite a bit on different assignments and haven't spent a good dinner together for awhile. This one was one of the funniest, with water shooting out of the nose and curry being blurted everywhere, we can say the evening was a success. I'll leave the conversations topics to Courtney if she decides to blog about them, but so far, this was one of the best dinners we have had this trip. No alcohol or partying, just old school fun. It was a blast..
Travelers tip number one: ants like a lot of things and what I learned this morning after picking up my pill bag (anti mosquito medicines, Advil, vitamins, etc.) my bag was covered in them. Why? Because apparently they LOVE the Exlax! HA! good thing we are leaving today, those ants are going to be hurting today and probably pooing all over my room to get back at me for tricking them into thinking they were eating a delicious treat.
I am off to Vietnam. I will have limited access to the internet, however, I will keep in touch as much as I can. Our first stop is Hanoi, and there is plenty of history and lessons I'm sure to learn and report back as soon as I get a chance.