Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Andrew in the provinces - Trip1 Luang Namtha - Part 1

As part of my assessment of the financial management capacity of the Ministry of Education (a medium term strategy for development will subsequently be developed) I have made two trips to the hilly northern parts of Laos. I have visited Provincial Education Service, Districts and two schools. The country has 17 provinces and 143 districts.

The MOE people were hospitable with dinners arranged with some important people. There were toasts with a local spirit called Lao-Lao which has its own distinctive firewater characteristics.

Firstly I flew to Luang Namtha, the provincial capital of a province of the same name. Luang Namtha is in the northwest most position in Laos and borders on Burma (Myanmar) and China. The flight was an hour and we arrived at 1pm.

We had tagged onto a World Bank/AusAid mission to check on school building programs in the area and there were about a dozen of us. Due to the members of the delegation there was a reception committee when we arrived at the airport and at least four bunches of flowers were presented.


We went to a local restaurant for lunch. We had meetings with the local education committees.

We travelled in a convoy of four Land Cruisers.

Road travel in these areas is challenging in that it takes time. Four hour trips would be normal to cover 100 km. The roads are very windy along river sides or ridge lines. The country areas are well populated and the travelling offers plenty of sights. Other vehicle traffic was reasonably light on the narrow roads and some care was required when a truck or bus was encountered.


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