|Volunteering in Laos|
Luckily, it was acceptable to eat just some of the food, but Kelvin advised it was customary to drink all of the whiskey offered. In this village where very little, if any, English is spoken, cries of “WhiskeyLao!” filled the air as the villagers toasted us and offered us shots to drink, always in pairs! The mood was celebratory, and we happily partook, touched to be honored by the village in this manner. When the feast was complete, we stepped down the stairs to our boat, followed by the village children, who dove into the Mekong and splashed and swam after us as we departed down the river for our long drive home.
And just like that, in the blink of an eye it seemed, our week volunteering in Laos was drawing to a close. As we rowed down the Mekong, amongst sheer cliffs, past lounging water buffalo, in this country we came close to not visiting, I counted my lucky stars and thanked my map of the world for bringing me to Laos, a place where the residents are so open-hearted that at the end of a week of volunteering Ken and I felt we had received so much more than we had given. But then again, isn’t that always the case when you volunteer?