Published: August 9th 2012August 9th 2012
In the process of being built!
SAELAO’s primary purpose is to set an example of sustainable development in Laos<strong style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; color: #1c1c1c; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; border-width: 0px; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;">.By implementing environmentally friendly building methods, management systems and farming practices (e.g. biogas, permaculture, mud brick) the SAELAO Project aims to minimise the use of natural resources preserving the local environment for future generations.
So thats from the website, what we actually did when we got there was hard work with sweat coming out of every tiny pour in our bodies.....we stunk for 8 solid days and 7 nights! When we arrived a shed needed to be built to house the wood so that it does not get wet. My first job was to stip timber so that it can be used for the shed structure, this went on for a few days and believe me it was hard work, however with machettes and a saw in hand, I was ready to beat any lumber jack at his job! The next job was to saw the jagged ends
off the logs - another day of sweat. Cow shit was another memorable day when I was planting cabbages, pumpkins, basil and lettuce seeds using the manure that the other volunteers had so kindly collected the previous day! This experience was good for me, trying to get over my OCD. You will be pleased to know, I did not use my hand sanitiser once during this entire experience!! Where I had to draw the line was when the cat and its kittens were running wild in the kitchen, in the food and on the pots and pans! After a bit of education for a few days, the once dirty unhygenic kitchen was transformed into a much cleaner one by myself, Cotty and another Italian volunteer! Ok so it was not 100% how we would have liked it, but it was certainly an improvement from what it was and I hope the Lao staff keep this up particularly when serving customers.
We taught english in the evening to kids that travelled 1 hour for a 1 hour lesson by me (not even a teacher!) and other volunteers! Some of the Hmong tribe teenagers had been living in a shack all
six of then for 2 weeks as they wanted to learn english and there village was 3 hours away and it was too far and costly to travel everyday. They invited us to their shack which was humbling and where we found out that they were leaving the free English lessons and going home as they had run out of rice and had nothing to eat. This was heartbreaking as they so wanted to learn, these kids had high aspirations for themselves, if only the kids in the western world would learn a little from them and not take so much for granted. Myself, Cotty and 3 of the other voulunteers Nico, Mickeal and Patrick decided that their education was far more important and paid for them to be fed up until they were due home in September. I know these boys will make something of themselves oneday and I hope we helped them along the way!
Cotty and I stayed in a bungalow, away from the other volunteers, it was a lovely little hut in a middle of a swampy field, but we loved it. for the first two nights we slept like logs and then the noises
started. The noises were like someone or something was creeping around the bungalow.......needless to say, we were freaking out!
The first night the noises started at 12am and then again at 3 am, we were too scared to open the door and look out in case it was human! If it was an animal we were less fearful, but to think a creepy human was walking rings round our hut was another ball game! The following night, we were armed with a machette, just in case and the plan was, when the noises started again we would wake up and i would hold the machette and attack if needed and Cotty would hold the flash light.....the noises started, I tell Cotty to wake and get ready.....ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz! She didnt bloody wake up and she slept like a baby the entire night leaving me to listen to the scary noises!! What a wing girl she makes!!
The following nights, i came to the conclusion it was some kind of beast and put my ear plugs in so not to get freaked out.....it does make me think though, what kind of animal walks around our hut at the same time every
A highly skilled chilled Lao dude who can make, do and eat anything!
night 12am and 3am......hmmmm?
So this is now the end of the first few months of mine and Cottys journey together. She now leaves to go to Myamar and I am off to Cambodia. Farewell my friends and I shall see you in December in Chile to drink great wine, and soak in the sun!!
Kop jai Lai Lai (Thank you very much) for being a great travel buddy!
There are more photos below