After cashing the check at Lao Development Bank in Ban Muangkao, we rushed off to Ban Dannavieng to drop off my stuff and then made a dash for the school. The students are back from their lunch break and are busy with their hourly lesson. My Aao and I went to see the superintendent of the school first to have a discussion about the Book Box Library and the school building project.
My Aao introduced me to the superintendent and told him I was there to check on the school building project and on the book box library on behalf of the donors. The superintendent told me what I see is how things are at the moment. He informed me at the moment there is no funding to go on to the next project of putting down the concrete floor due to the paving of a road to their local temple. This meant there is no funding for the windows or the doors and the only room with windows and locked door is the superintendent’s office where they are keeping the book box library and school supplies. The superintendent added there is still a risk if someone wants to do damages to the school and can find a way to enter the room.
At the moment there is a discussion on what to do with the preschool students because they are holding a class at the old and dirty building. The parents are worried about their health and the debate is about switching places with the fifth graders because they are older and can handle the dirt and the dust better.
The superintendent said things are moving slowly but things are so much better now than before with the new building and they are happy to be where they are at the moment and everything is “koy phen koy pai” and the good news is that they are getting some new high quality blackboards from from Booyoong Company of the Republic of Korea and are in the process of hanging them up and will put up a new school sign later.
Since we were pressed for time I asked his permission to visit the school again with one of the donor of the Book Box Library. Before visiting the school I have asked my Aao not to say anything about Nye Noona being the donor to the school building project because she wants to visit the school anonymously. My Aao didn’t agree with me and he said we should have an official ceremony so “phor mair phee nong kup sao ban” can thank her and have a meal at his house with sou khuan ceremony. I had to convinced him that Nye Noona doesn’t want a big fuss over her with an official ceremony and I can’t let the superintendent and the teachers know that the friend I am bringing next month is the one that has donated $1250.00 to their school building project.
Of course, my Aao doesn’t understand what the big secret is all about so I told him just like my parents that didn’t want their names to be listed for helping Nongdong and Dannavieng schools, Nye Noona is acting in the same way. In addition, I told my Aao that I don’t want any pressure on her to donate more money and also don’t want anyone to think that Nye Noona is made of money since she is from the US. So, my Aao agreed to not say anything and would let me do all the talking with the superintendent regarding the future visitation to the school.
Acting on Nye Noona’s wishes I told the superintendent that I would be back next month and would like to bring a friend who is one of the contributor to the Book Box Library to check out the school. The superintendent said we are all welcome and wanted to know if the donors of the school building project would visit them and invited the donors for a big boun on the school ground whenever they are finished with their school building project. I said to the superintendent that I have no doubt the donors would visit the school in the near future.
I went next door to take some photos and making video clips and went to visit the preschoolers. It was a horrible place to be with water everywhere because of the rain in the last few days. The little ones were sitting on a bed with mats because there are not enough desks and chairs to go around. The preschool teacher told me how during rain season the kids would go home with red mud on their clothes and shoes and their parents would often complain about the mess but there is not much they can do at the moment. She asked me if I have money to build a new school for them and I told her I just graduated and taking two months off in Laos and will have to look for a job when I go home.
At this time a teacher that I saw earlier while taking photos of the second grade class came to check on me and so walked toward the new building with her. She told me it is such a tragic thing that Luang Pou (the senior Buddhist monk at their local temple) passed away because he was such a generous to their school building project. If he didn’t pass away then they would be able to complete the school by now and perhaps they would be building a new school for the preschoolers as well. She further said they are in such a desperate state and they would even let anyone who is willing to build a new school for them to put his or her name on the school.
Since I didn’t want to go into a lengthy discussion with her and have to hear another teacher asked me if I have money to build a new school for them I cut off the discussion by saying that I am in no position to help anyone since I don’t even have a job and was working part time as a student to feed myself. I then said goodbye to the teacher and told her I will see her the next time I come back to the school with a friend and went to take more photos of the students. By this time my Aao was waiting for me and urged me we had to get going because the students at Nongdong Elementary School will take their 3:00 PM break and I would not have enough time to see them during their class time and that it will also rain soon so we must get going. After taking enough photos and clips we went on our way to Nongdong Elementary School.