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Post Info TOPIC: Anyone here want to have volunteer activities in Laos ?


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Anyone here want to have volunteer activities in Laos ?
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Culturally influenced by China and India, the two giants between whom it is (indirectly) situated, Laos offers a sleepy, peaceful, view of Asia. Vietnam and Thailand have has a strong impact on Laos as well. Arguably this country has the bluest skies in Asia, and certainly the least amount of traffic. One of Globe Aware's newest, the program takes place in fascinating Luang Prabang, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1995. Monks in saffron robes stroll by carrying umbrellas over their shoulder, while occasional longtail boats are guided gently down the Mekong River making deliveries. But sadly, Laos has been bombed heavier than any other nation in history, and its' gentle citizens are still recovering from the massive bombing attacks they suffered in secret during the Vietnam War. While land mines have been cleared from all major touristed areas, and in the areas where Globe Aware works, thousands of Laos people from the rural countryside are maimed and killed every year when accidentally stepping on a land mine.


Work Project


Due to its poor economic environment, the Laos people feel their children have limited access and knowledge to choose future life paths. Most Laos parents would like their children to have additional options in life, by offering them some instruction in English, computers (how to send email, to use Word, etc) hospitality skills, first aid etc. Volunteers will help teach English to novice monks in the village school, help with community projects (can aid in schoolroom construction if comfortable doing so and a school beautification project) and repair, and help to assemble wheelchairs with the simple use of a screwdriver. Volunteers then give the wheelchairs (this activity is subject to shipping logistics) to needy recipients. A 15 minute boat trip across the Mekong bring you to an extremely poor village with no running water that is more the norm for Laos than LPB. We are trying to improve the conditions in the schools here, which are in desperate need. Side projects vary, but include things such as planting projects with the monks, and making food and school supply donations. There is also a nearby orphanage where we make donations. A set itinerary is created, though always expect schedule changes (reflects the nature of the culture), there is ample room to pick and choose projects that appeal to you the most. No special skills are needed.


Food and Lodging


Volunteers will be lodged 2 to a room in a charming Hostel alongside the Mekong River, within minutes walking distance from all the major sites in Luang Prabang. Running hot water is available, as are flushing toilets and electricity, and even excellent linens. Fresh Lao specialties prepared for your meals, which includes rice, noodles, chicken, beef, vegetables, and such.


Leisure Activities


The city was an ancient capital of Lanexang Kingdom, Land of a Million Elephants, founded in the 7th Century by King Khoun Lo and today, Luang Prabang still set amidst the splendor of mountains, forests and rivers, offers 1000 year-old temples and shrines, a vibrant ethnic market for local weaving and antiques, and a thriving Buddhist community of more than 1000 monks aged from eight to 90 years old. The Royal Palace Museum, more than a dozen temples, handicraft shops, restaurants and even internet cafes. Volunteers always delight when they choose to visit the Kuong Sy falls and Pak Ou Caves. Even watching the sunset on the Mekong, after a day of doing good, will likely be one of your finest memories ever.


Arranging Your Airfare


Plan to arrive in Luang Prabang no later than 10am the Sat. your program begins. Program ends at 11am the following Saturday. The airport is one of the return drop off stops our driver will make. The airport is a 10 minute, $4 taxi ride from our program site, so you have flexibility with your departure if you want to leave at a different time, however your room is only arranged through to the Saturday morning your program ends.
 

Need to Know


The area is becoming something of a tourist destination. Chic hotels, restaurants, shops and tourists are appearing. Some people might be put off by this, others are comforted to know that they are not leaving civilization, by a long shot. Wheelchair kits are unfortunately largely at the mercy of customs and immigration in Laos. It can take 1 day to 2 years to clear items, and the government gives no sort of guarantee or communications about this, hence we have a variety of projects in which we are involved. Also it is important to note that the majority of land mine victims do not live in LPB proper and hence we may travel internally for delivery. You do need to bring a good amount of cash, as there are no ATM's and the only way to get funds is to do a cash advance on a Visa card. Hotels will also exchange travelers checks for you.

Groups to Laos tend to be small, but they are never cancelled. If you are looking to be a part of a large group, this is not the best program for you. We focus on individualized attention.

How to Apply:

Visit www.globeaware.com to find out about available program dates and tax deductible program fees. Remember: Have fun and Help people!


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