Nong Khai, IsaanSeptember 22, 2019 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C
Nong Khai is a stunning surprise. We had no idea where we were coming to but we love it already. It sits on the banks of the mighty Mekong River and looks across to Laos. This area was once part of Laos and the people here still identify more with Laos, when asked the locals say they are from Isaan, rather than Thailand. We arrived on Sunday after long travel day and were instantly refreshed by the cleanliness and beauty of the town, our guesthouse Mut Mee is right on the river so it’s cool and calm and incredibly peaceful and quiet.
Thursday 26th Sept
It’s 7am and I am sitting out by the river, it‘s slow flow is mesmerizing and it keeps distracting me from typing or doing anything else. I’m sure I could sit here all day just watching and breathing it in but we are working while we’re here so will have to save that luxury for the weekend. There’s a large pedestrian (and cyclist) only paved promenade that runs all the way along the river so we’ve hired bikes for the duration of our stay here so we can get around easily. Each day we ride to Open Mind Project (OMP) in the morning and back again at night after dark. Our first few days at OMP have been orientation where we are getting to know the eight young trainees and they are teaching us about some Thai and Laos culture, language and customs to help us adjust. The first day we were given a list of ingredients needed to make Laab Kai and Som Tam (spicy papaya salad) for dinner. We learned some Thai phrases and vocabulary, walked to the market for the ingredients and then all cooked together to make these traditional dishes accompanied by sticky rice. The sticky rice is a.maze.ing! super high in energy which is released slowly and the farmers live on this to keep them sustained during their long days of physical work (we are told that people from Isaan work harder than people from Thailand). Each meal, we cook together and eat together and the food is packed with plenty of chilli and flavor. The trainees here are all from remote Laos Villages and have come to Open Mind Project to learn English, IT, business development , discover their interests and develop the life skills and confidence required to prepare for a better future. The vision is a future in which young people are motivated, confident and empowered to realize their dreams.
I know I need to write more about our volunteering work as our friends and family are all asking about it but it’s kind of hard to write about as I don’t have the words yet. It will come out in due course.
By RachelRead more