MCC Laos

Our work here in Vientiane began much the same as in the other two countries we were just in; we surveyed the work we needed to do. As in other offices we found documents in file cabinets in various offices, and boxes and boxes of files in a small storeroom and in a large barn/shed. However, when we actually started looking we found that most material could be thrown out. This country seems to have kept up with sending material to Akron fairly well. We did have a number of files which were only in Lao language. We were able to tell sometimes by the format what it might be about and we did learn to recognize the script for “Mennonite.” More helpful, though, was the MCC staff member who could sit with us and translate! Since it didn’t take so long to go through the files they asked us to “weed” their library. Sally Jo was very happy to help with that! We then reorganized the remaining books. We were able to move the library from six bookcases to three. We chose a small box of books that can be given to a thrift shop but the rest will be burnt. With the boxes of files and the boxes of books that needed to be burnt, they carried away at least two truck-loads plus more. They also burnt some on site.

As always, it was fun to get to know the MCC staff. Twice we had Lao meals fixed in the office and the other days we went to small restaurants in the area for lunches. We very much enjoyed the local food. Ron even “enjoyed” eating the chicken feet from one of the dishes. One evening we were invited to an MCC service workers home for supper. We were thrilled to meet a YAMENer from Indonesia who is here for the year. (YAMEN is the counterpart of IVEP involving young people in “south-to-south” exchange.) Gloria is from Pati, Indonesia, and we had common acquaintances. Also one morning a delegation from South Korea visited the MCC offices. Again, we found common acquaintances. It is always exciting to meet people from all over the world and make connections.

One morning we visited the COPE center (Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise). It was inspiring to see the work they do to help people with disabilities. People of all ages are fitted with artificial limbs and given therapy. The center also explains the problems with unexplored ordnances (UXO) and the resulting disabilities. Lao is the most heavily bombed country in the world per capita in history.  Sobering stories and videos.

We were invited to a Chinese New Year celebration at an MCC staff member’s home. There was a lot to eat and loud music. What impressed us was the “farm” at the home. Soi grows nearly everything she cooks, from chicken and fish to all sorts of vegetables and fruit. (It was dark so we could not get a good photo.)

Wendy, MCC rep, treated us to brunch the morning we left Vientiane. The restaurant was located on a small alley and served wonderful sticky rice mango pancakes with coconut coffee. Delicious!

2 Responses to “MCC Laos”

  1. Walter Says:

    Interesting Blog! But Vera says she “could do without the chicken foot”!!!! It appears that you are having the “time of your life”!

  2. Viliya Pamungkas Says:

    I miss chicken foot! I am still amazed by your work and how far you have gone and all the people you have met 🙂 You both are my inspiration, I wish someday I can travel while doing God’s work like you two 🙂

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