Sorry for not having written in so long. Since I came back from Vietnam I have been incredibly busy, not only getting ready to go back home, but also visiting libraries around Vientiane.
When I first arrived back, Dr. Aree and some other experts from Thailand were here giving a UNESCO supported workshop on Information Literacy for library staff. My friend, Mrs. Sypha, was one of the facilitators of the workshop, so even though it was all in Lao and Thai, I observed several of the sessions and discussed with Areee and Sypha the methods they were usuing and evaluation tools. For those who are interested, they focused on the Big6 Skills and a new model I had never heard of, the “Empowering 8.” Speaking of which, that reminds me I would like to make my powerpoints available that I prepared for the workshops I conducted in Vietnam, which I think are actually really good. I also relied heavily on the Big6 Model, as well as another model I found called “Reflect Learn Connect” developed by Seattle Community College libraries or something. Dr. Aree’s workshop was longer and therefore more detailled than mine, and it seems like most of the participants “got it”, more or less.
I went to visit my friend Pachoua’s village last weekend. She is Lao Hmong and from a town about 2 hours North of Vientiane, near Ban Keun. We took the bus to her house on Saturday afternoon, arriving at her parents farm about 2pm. We spent the afternoon having lunch of Ping Pa (grilled fish) over looking their pond, and then her brothers and I went to the Nam Ngun Resevoir. This is the resevoir that was created by the construction of the Nam Ngun Dam about 20 years ago. The dam supplies electricity for most of Laos and even enough to sell to Thailand. When the Nam Ngun river was dammed, the entire river valley was flooded, creating a huge lake about 10km wide, full of little islands that used to be the tops of small mountains. The river valley lies in the Phou Kwai (Buffalo Horn) Mountains protected area. It’s stunningly beautiful.
Pachoua and her brothers overlooking the resevoir. The water is a bit low due to it being the end of the dry season.
After visiting the resevoir, we went swimming in the river below the dam, and then back to Pachuoua’s house for dinner.
The following morning we woke up early, had breakfast, and then Pachoua and her mother dressed me up in Hmong Traditional clothing.
We hung around her house and farm for the rest of the morning, and then in the afternoon me and Pachoua and her 2 brothers got back on the bus and headed back to Vientiane.
On Tuesday we started the LALIC (Laos Library and Information Consortium) tour – a whirlwind visit to 12 libraries in 3 days.
1.) NUOL Faculty of Engineering Library (Sokpaluang Campus)
2.) NUOL Faculty of Political Science and Law Library (near Sokpaluang somehwere)
3.) Laos Institute of Public Administration Library (next to Wat Sisaket, downtown)
4.) National Library of Laos (downtown, next to Nam Phou)
5.) National Science and Technology Documentation Centre (near Patuxay)
6.) University of Health Sciences Library (near Patuxay)
7.) NUOL Faculty of Agriculture Library (Nangbong campus… about 30 km from downtown)
8.) NUOL Faculty of Forestry Library (Dong Dok Campus)
9.) NUOL Lao-Japan Center Library (Dong Dok Campus)
10.) NUOL Faculty of Management and Economic Library (Dong Dok Campus)
11.) NUOL Faculty of Architecture Library (Dong Dok Campus)
I guess if you include the Central Library that makes the 12 members of LALIC. In the past weeks I have also visited the Vientiane Internation School Library, and the Lycee Hoffet Library, the Lao-American College Library, the US Embassy Public Information Unit Library, as well as the French Language Centre Library.
I’m still planning visits to the Room to Read Library, and the Vientiane Capital Public Library. And I will probably go back to VIS this week because the librarian there invited me to see what she is doing to celebrate “Library Week”.
Of course, I took photos and detailed notes on all of the visits and will be posting my commentary soon.
This past week I also had a few small parties in my home, including a birthday party for my friend Nang and a dinner for some other friends. I also met up with Sack, my friend who’s about to move to Ireland and get married, and we went to the disco this past Saturday with about 10 other people. Lots of celebrating and enjoying Laos in my final month here!!