Thursday, April 28, 2011

A week of firsts

GVI Laos welcomed 4 new volunteers in a week of firsts! Firstly, new team members Greg and Sam joined Tricia in Laos for the first time as ongoing field staff in Luang Prabang.

Also for the first time, GVI is teaching at the Vocational and Technical School (VTS) with their fantastic Lao teaching staff in Tourism and Business Administration. The school kindly invited the GVI volunteers and staff to attend their New Year (Pi Mai) bacci (Blessing ceremony) festivities (see the next blog for more details!). This was a very special occasion and a first for us in Luang Prabang with the VTS, and certainly a new experience for the volunteers!

The volunteers have been making the most of their free time in between their teaching schedules, with visits to the local night market to buy a sin (traditional Laotian skirt) and some souvenirs. They’ve been sampling LP’s many cafe’s – indeed one volunteer, Lisa, is a self-confessed coffee connoisseur and has delved into the vibrant coffee scene to be found in this French-influenced pocket of Asia. The volunteers have also tested out many of the restaurants, nightlife and movies, enjoyed a day trip to Pak Ou Caves and even experienced a sunrise climb to incredible Phousi Hill.

Also for the first time the volunteers had a skype chat with Jeff, the Project Manager of Thailand’s Elephant Project in Chiang Mai, to learn about the practice of elephant treks and what questions to ask when planning a day trip locally.

It’s an exciting time to volunteer with GVI Laos for sure! With another major first starting in June 2011 – the Laos Childcare and Teaching Children project, many more unique and special experiences are waiting for our volunteers!