Little Girl in Traditional Hmong Costume
Saturday, 7 December 2013
In Love with Laos
In November I was lucky enough to spend a few days in
. It’s a
fascinating country and hard not to fall for with its beautiful temples, miles and miles of the spectacular Mekong River
and fabulous mountain scenery, mostly clad in deep jungle green. The population
is young – 41% are under 14 and everyone we met was warm and friendly.
Tragically, the country’s strategic importance in Laos Indochina
has caused it great suffering in recent history – at one time it had the
terrible distinction of being one of the most bombed countries on Earth. Inevitably,
recovery takes time.
Consumerism hasn’t really caught up on
yet which makes it attractive in many ways. Most shopping is still done in local markets on a daily basis. The colours and smells of these markets are amazing with lots of exotic fruits and vegetables on offer as well as those more familiar to us. There's also a lot of tempting street food made from very fresh and tasty ingredients. Laos
The situation is less good where literacy is concerned; the rate has much improved in the last decade or so but it’s still only around 60%. It’s hard to find books anyway outside the capital,
, so Etranger Books and Tea in World Heritage city, Luang Prabang, is an oasis for book lovers. Founded by a French woman, it sells mainly second-hand books in a plethora of language as well as great cakes! Vientiane
If you’d like to know more about what’s being done to promote literacy in
why not take a look at http://www.thelanguageproject.org?
They also have a wish list on amazon.com.