Monday, May 26, 2008

The Wedding of Joy
Joy, a woman who works in the restaurant beside our house where MCC people often go for lunch, got married on the weekend and Arthur and I went to represent MCC. Some MCCers asked me to take photos so I've decided to share them with everyone.

Joy's mother (in the middle) smiles at me. This is one hard-working woman who gets up early and keeps everything and everyone in line all day. Her daughters are equally hard working. She's happy to have a day off from running the restaurant.

As hosts, the bride and groom politely invited us to the buffet table after which the crowd, not so politely, swarmed the buffet tables. It was quite a spread and because it was a rainy evening, not many people attended so there was lots of food for those of us who came.

Joy's twin sister wasn't able to come to the wedding because she just delivered a baby and had to stay home with him. New mothers aren't allowed out for a few months. Joy and her sister are identical twins so all their life it has been hard for people to tell them apart. When they were first born, they were given the nicknames of "Skinny" (Joy) and "Fatso" (Touy) because one was slightly bigger than the other. Those names have stuck for over 29 years. Both women are thin as rails but one is still called "Fatso"!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A visit to Nita School

Matt and Ben are planning to teach for a year at Nita School and so today when I was visiting the school to work out the details, I took some photos for them which I'd like to share with all of you.

The director of the school

Inside one of the primary classrooms. To see a picture inside a kindergarden classroom, scroll down to the MCC retreat posting.

This is the general uniform of the teachers. On Mondays and Fridays, days when the flag ceremony takes place, the teachers are more restricted in what they wear. Teachers need to wear light colored or white shirts on those days. What is the flag ceremony? On Monday mornings at assembly the flag goes up the pole for the week and on Friday afternoons when the school week is over it comes down.

This photo was taken on a Wednesday.

Monday, May 19, 2008

MCC Retreat
We hosted the MCC SE Asia retreat this year in Vientiane. It was fun to get together with the 40 other MCCers and kids to learn more about what MCC is doing in each of the countries and to learn more about Buddhists who are working for peace in the region.

We stayed at a big hotel in downtown Vientiane and it was an interesting experience to be a tourist in our own town. We saw a side of Vientiane that we hadn't seen before just by being there around the clock.

One highlight of the retreat was singing together. We brought all the blue worship hymnals we could find in the 3 countries and sang for hours. It may sound boring to some people but after years or months of attending churches where the songs are unfamiliar or the singing on the poor side, it was great to sing with people who know the familiar songs and who can SING!

Erik and Conrad took care of these two young boys during the sessions by playing games like Monopoly and building a castle out of Lego.

One day we divided into two groups and my group visited 3 MCC partners near Vientiane. First we visited Katelin's kindergarten class and watched them perform some songs they had been working on.
Our next stop was the Lao Disabled Women's Development Center, where we had a tour of the facilities. They also sang a song for us. It was called "Thank you"and the director had written it for a previous occation.

After lunch at our house and a stop at the MCC office, we went to a community center where were were warmly welcomed by about 60 children who danced for us and put on a fashion show where the constumes were completely made from recycled items. Bubble wrap, paper, bags were all used creatively by the kids and adult volunteers to make great outfits.