We then went to the community meeting hall, built through support from World Vision, and met the elders and the Chief. We all sat together, asking questions and listening to the staff explain many things about the projects in the area.
We then spent time looking at the various facilities that World Vision had assisted with, such as a green tea drying shed and a school administration office. World Vision has initiated several projects to assist the Phoukoun community over the years.
It was gratifying to see the green tea project would give the community income by growing, drying and selling green tea - a new initiative that went beyond subsistence farming. They were hoping to tap into the tourism market with this product.
We saw foundations for a new administration building at the school, another project supported by World Vision that also provided on-going educational support for the children.
Some women were washing their winter quilts at the water tap in the middle of the community. I couldn’t help but admire the way they tackled such hard jobs, without the help of any machinery or power. We learnt so much that day about life for the Hmong people.
When we all went out to lunch to a restaurant even higher up the mountain, it felt like a rare and special, yet happy, occasion, and everyone enjoyed the meal immensely.
Our visit experience was something we will never forget. I hope that our two daughters have learnt from this life experience and that this will develop their understanding of the lives and cultures of different people around the world.
Our experience has also reassured us about the fantastic and caring work that World Vision accomplishes. They are committed to positively helping minority communities who are socially and economically disadvantaged. We now understand their processes much more and were so impressed by the World Vision people who worked in Laos.
Thank you World Vision for caring about our sponsored child and his family. We now know that they are being supported in a positive and respectful way to have a more positive life experience than they may have had without community support.