This past week has been busy. I've set up this blog and a dedicated Facebook page, continued with my Lao language lessons, started the medical clearance process and attended a Cuso webinar entitled "Fundraising 101". I raced at a dragon boat regatta and I picked strawberries out on the Peninsula.
Response to my first email blast was so encouraging that I have raised my fundraising goals. I still need to reach the first $2,000 as part of my commitment to Cuso International (and we are nearly there!) but I also know that people will want to contribute more to Cuso once I'm on the ground in Laos. If you haven't contributed yet, you can do so by clicking here
What exactly can I do in Laos?
First of all, I am not a miracle worker! What I do know is that improved English-language ability in English and better computer skills will allow fuller participation in regional and global conversations which affect Laos. And the Cuso volunteer workers who come after me will continue to build on the work I do. Lightbulb moment...that is why we fundraise in order to "pay it forward".
More about Laos
Did you know that land-locked Laos is one of East Asia's poorest countries and during the Vietnam War more bombs were dropped on Laos than were used in World War II ? In every sense, Laos is still a developing country. A couple of days ago I was appalled to read in the Guardian that Laos is one of the countries that processes the discarded plastics of the developed world. Only the most desperate nations resort to this kind of "industry". Informed research suggests that quality education as a national priority is key to benefitting Laos economically as it has other countries in the region.
One more thing about Laos
There is a version of a dragon boat and an annual festival is held along the Mekong River in Vientiane. Expats are encouraged to get in the boats too and compete alongside Laotians. The icing on the cake!