Laos CAS Trip

25 May 2019

Laos CAS Trip

From the very first day in Laos to the seventh, we worked on site with the World Volunteer members, making sustainable clay bricks that contributed directly towards building boarding facilities for the students living nearby to stay during the weekdays. Students in the area often struggle to complete their education as they are required to walk long distances to school and thus require immense commitment that may not be at their leisure. World Volunteer’s primary aim is to ensure that all students have a place to stay during school days – one fewer obstacle in their way of completing their secondary education. As volunteers on this service trip, we prepared over 300 new mud bricks alongside plastering walls, shaving bricks made from the previous groups of volunteers, making fresh mud and building a whole entire shed. We faced struggles under the blazing sun as we were immediately put into a completely new environment. But looking back, the achievements we made outweigh the physical fatigue and initial challenges we faced.

Not only were we immersed in the service aspect of the trip but we also experienced a cultural eye-opening week as we stayed in the local village. We ate all three meals with our host families whilst spending most of our free time with the young children of the village. At first, we experienced a myriad of difficulties: not having any internet access, the mud staining all our clothes but most importantly, the language barrier we had.

These problems, however, proved to be nothing as almost immediately, we bonded with the villagers and integrated into a local style of living. Waking up at 6am to the crowing of roosters, eating the food prepared by our host families, exclaiming “Sep Lai! (Delicious)”, changing into our work attire, working for a large portion of the day, coming back for lunch and dinner, washing up in the river, playing games with the children, looking at the night stars and falling asleep to the sounds of crickets. The genuine compassion that I felt in Laos was like none other; we were given the opportunity to grow and bond as a group, and gained a sense of purpose as we were able to serve a community for one week.

2,061 km away from Laos and Non Jong Village, we go to school and live every day with the lessons that we learnt from this heartwarming week in Laos. Thank you to all my fellow students, teachers, the local villagers and World Volunteer staff members for the truly valuable experience.

Madeline Choi, 5 TCT