After my visit to Dannavieng Elementary School, my Aao took me to Nongdong Elementary School, which is a home to one of our book box library. We arrived a few minutes before the students ran out the doors for their last break of the day. I made a dash for the first grade class after saying hi to the superintendent of the school and the teachers and let my Aao doing all the talking before joining them later to talk about their book box library and the school building project.
Nongdong started to build a new school at the same time as Dannavieng Elementary School and has made more progress with having a smaller size building and additional village helping with the funding. But unlike Dannavieng School, this school has no office for the administration and share the same fate with being stuck where they are with what they have. In the end, it is koy phen koy pai or one baby step at a time.
I asked the permission of the superintendent to visit the school in the following month with a friend who is one of the donor for their book box library before saying goodbye to everyone. A female teacher said to me to tell my parents to build them a new road to the school and for me to bring “something” the next time I visit the school. When we were walking toward the truck, I asked my Aao why that teacher would say such a thing and he told me she was just teasing me and fishing for something. He said some people in Laos think all Lao nork are rich when in fact he knows quite a few people who are in debt because they charged their credit cards so they can go to Laos to visit their relatives and still paying off the interests. My Aao said just ignore those that think all Lao nork are “khon hung khon me” and keep a conversation short and if you don’t show off or handle too much money then you won’t be bother too much.
It started to rain when we were heading back to Ban Dannavieng. The students were on their way home and some was carrying an umbrella while biking home. There were some children I saw along the road that were not in school and were working the rice fields with their parents. That’s how life is sometimes, you are stuck at where you were born and if you are blessed enough you can get out from the deep hole you were place in by fate or by either random chance of the universe. For those that are fortunate enough to be in school, they are so happy to be there and they don’t take anything for granted.