The Library Boat


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Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang
February 18th 2009
Published: March 29th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

The Library Boat for Lao ChildrenThe Library Boat for Lao ChildrenThe Library Boat for Lao Children

This ingenious project is all funded by donations.

The Little Library Boat for Lao Children


Before continuing on to Northern Thailand, I decided to return to Luang Prubang in Laos for a day or two, since the flights stop there on the way. Xuyen had arranged for me to make a quick visit to the Orphanage School of Luang Prubang, one of her husband's projects in Laos. She connected me with Chantha, the city libarian, who coordinated my visit and also offered me another unique experience, completely unrelated...

When I arrived, Chantha asked me if I wanted to go with her on the "Library Boat" the next morning. It's a long boat with library shelves full of books that travels up the Mekong River to remote villages. When it arrives, the children come down to the beach and check out books for a couple of hours while the boat is there. How cool is that? Of course, I said "Yes!"


Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


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Inside the boat en route to a small village upriverInside the boat en route to a small village upriver
Inside the boat en route to a small village upriver

Chantha (holding her baby) is the city librarian for Luang Prubang. She invited me to join her on their journey to a village about 2 hours up the river. Sometimes she goes for a week at a time, so they can reach more remote villages.
On board I met Seymour and Cameron from BostonOn board I met Seymour and Cameron from Boston
On board I met Seymour and Cameron from Boston

They volunteered in Laos for several weeks, teaching English to village children.
On shore below the villageOn shore below the village
On shore below the village

two hours up the Mekong River from Luang Prubang.
Waiting to board the boat...Waiting to board the boat...
Waiting to board the boat...

... The children came running down to the shore from their village, so excited to see the Library Boat!
Inside the Library BoatInside the Library Boat
Inside the Library Boat

All of the books have been translated into Lao
Playing hopscotch in the sandPlaying hopscotch in the sand
Playing hopscotch in the sand

Cameron taught the kids how to play hopscotch!
Our picnic on the beachOur picnic on the beach
Our picnic on the beach

The "riverweed" (fried seaweed) was tasty... a more healthy version of potato chips. Fish is served with head, tail, fins and all.
Next stop... the Orphanage School of Luang PrubangNext stop... the Orphanage School of Luang Prubang
Next stop... the Orphanage School of Luang Prubang

We got back to Luang Prubang at 3PM and went to the orphanage school. It's a middle/high school where the kids live onsite in dorms. Several years ago, two of the students were invited to visit Xuyen's children's center in Vientiane. They were so inspired by what they saw there, that they started their own "art club" here as an after-school activity!
Cameron, Sengsong and SeymourCameron, Sengsong and Seymour
Cameron, Sengsong and Seymour

Sengsong, a student at the Orphanage School, learned English from Cameron and Seymour while they were volunteering here 3 years ago. They've kept in touch since. He is now a talented artist who runs the "art club" and sells his artwork to help support himself. He was one of the two students I mentioned in the previous photo.
This is where the art club meetsThis is where the art club meets
This is where the art club meets

We were very impressed with the student art and each bought something to take with us. Half of the money they earn from the art supports the orphanage.
Students playing "kataw"Students playing "kataw"
Students playing "kataw"

Like volleyball, but played with the feet. They can even spike the ball over the net with their feet!
The vegetable gardens at the Luang Prubang Orphanage School. The vegetable gardens at the Luang Prubang Orphanage School.
The vegetable gardens at the Luang Prubang Orphanage School.

Each student gets their own plot, which supplements their daily rice.


29th March 2009

Following your fantastic journey posting by posting
Hey Laura, This posting ranks up there as one of my faves! It looks like you're having such an unbelievable experience - will you ever be able to come back here and 'settle down' after this? Pretty life changing for you, I think? Cheers! Jayne
From Blog: The Library Boat
20th April 2009

charming!
i love the library boat! and especially the shot of those little slippers by the boat... i can just imagine the amazing experience you had with the children at the orphanage. there are so many things we take for granted in our city lives which these folks derive joy from .. and i guess that's what touched me the most about such travels. it's like you learn from the people you ventured to teach.
From Blog: The Library Boat
5th October 2013

Please help keep the Library Boat afloat!
Hi - Glad you had such a great time on the Library Boat. As you rightly said, the boats rely directly on donations, to continue distributing books to over 10,000 children, as well as teaching life skills and other learning activities. It costs just $1 per month to supply one child with books and activities. To find out more please visit our website, and don't forget to give us a big LIKE on Facebook. Thanks:- http://www.communitylearninginternational.org https://www.facebook.com/CommunityLearningInternational
From Blog: The Library Boat

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