Monday, October 18, 2010

Andrew in the provinces - Trip 2 Xieng Khouang - part 2

We left at 6am to drive to the next district. Breakfast in a local village over an open fire – more noodles and hard boiled eggs.


In Vieng Xay there are 452 teachers in the district. When I asked to see the asset register I was shown well worn sheets of paper with minimal information but it did have asset numbers

It was a 40 minute drive to a 3 room primary school (45 students) where we met the head of the village, head teacher and village education committee chair. Discussions included school fees from parents paying for the operational fees (pencils, school materials, resources) which total about NZD 250 p.a. (the government pays the teachers salary).

Teacher resources - made for a class the next day
Made from a cut up cardboard box

The children were over-excited about having a foreigner in their school. They kept poking their heads around the corner to see what was going on. The noise level was so high that the head teacher had to ask them to quieten down so we could have a conversation. We were given a bunch of a bananas and water during the meeting as a snack. I got asked how old I was and we all shared our ages. The teacher and Village head were only marginally younger than me. They were a friendly bunch.

We then travelled back to the provincial capital Houphane for meeting with the provincial treasury and a couple of free hours before another dinner hosted by the head of the provincial education service. My ministry of education colleague/interpreter took me to the market where I purchased a lovely silk shawl for Paula and a kilo of rice noodles.

Dinner was just the four of us and very hospitable. It is common practice here to routinely finish the meal with the provision of toothpicks. Everyone uses them and there is a protocol of cupping your hand over your mouth while digging out any residual food from the teeth.

An early night in preparation for a 5:30am start.

1 comment:

  1. It all looks and sounds fascinating Dad and Paula. Lucky you to have such an adventure. Would love to have been a fly on the wall while you balanced on the child's stool for an hour and a half Dad! Never mind the spuds - im sure there will be plenty for when you get home. In the meantime you must be looking very lean and mean with all that rice.
    Keep up the great work on the the blog. xx