Sunday, April 29, 2012

We come full circle

GVI's Tricia and TVS teachers celebrate New Year in 2012
It was probably less of an event for Project Manager, Tricia, or even for the school (students and teachers), but Friday’s basi (blessing ceremony) at the Technical and Vocational School (TVS) carried a sense of coming full circle for GVI Field Staff Sam.

Sam receives blessings in 2011

One year and two days beforehand, TVS held another basi for Pi Mai to bring blessings and success to the school for the Lao New Year.  A basi is a wonderful event to be a part of at the best of times, but to be right back where I started 12 months before, brand new to Laos and my new role, meeting teachers and friends who would form a large part of my life in the first year in Luang Prabang, was particularly special. 
Mr Chandee blesses Sam for the 2012 New Year

Like last year, we gathered for the official ceremony – encircling the offerings, chanting and receiving blessings from elders, and tying strings on each other’s wrists to call back each of our 32 body spirits (khwan) to protect us.  I seemed to receive a lot of blessings to win the lottery!  This was followed by music and singing – one of our partner teachers in the Tourism Department being an especially talented songman – food, drinks and merriment.  Sadly we had another basi to attend so left before the dancing....but not before the rain!  Like last year the weather turned foul.  A gusty breeze blew in during the basi itself when an elder was chanting – we took it as a good omen!  Then the heavens opened during the party and didn’t let up.  Cycling from one side of town to the other in pouring rain was less of an omen, but we need the water so for the sake of getting drenched it was worth it! 
Teachers Miss Amphaiwan and Mr Chandee in 2011

It was a wonderful afternoon and evening at both ceremonies, and I for one hope to be around in another year for next year’s celebrations.