My First Completed Work Week
Laos PDR (People’s Democratic Republic) actually stands for People Don’t Rush. Seriously, that’s what the guide books also say. I will come back and explain later on.
To better understand what I will be doing in Laos for six months, I would like to share briefly what Save the Children in Laos (SCiL) has been doing over the past 26 years. The 5 core areas of focus is 1) Primary Health Care Access: Every person should have access to a basic primary health clinic within 5 km, or a 1 hr walking distance. Strong focus is given to maternal and child care. 2) Preschool(age 5) and Primary School (gr.1-5): Every child has the right to an education. 3) Child Protection: Every child should feel safe and protected from violence and exploitation. 4) Child Rights Governance (CRG): Following the UNCRC (Union Nations Childs Rights Convention): Help Gov’t implement and monitor laws and regulations to help protect children. 5) Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR): Educate communities on ways to help protect themselves from natural disasters and provide aid and assistance during a disaster.
My responsibility will be to produce marketing material (brochures, web site, intranet, social media) depicting what SCiL is doing, letting the outside world know the successes and obstacles they are facing with the ultimate goal on getting additional funding.
My first week was spent learning from the ground up what SCiL has been doing. My co-workers have been extremely kind and welcoming. They all provided me with a briefing on what their roles are within the organization. I am still not used to Lao food. So for the past week during lunch, I have been ordering Pad Thai. On Friday, Anosith asked me if I have an eating problem. Why? Because I have been ordering the same thing everyday LOL! So I promised them on Monday, they can order me whatever they would like me to try. Just no Pork.
Going back to my duties, SCiL has not had anyone in Communications before, so they are all very excited to share what they have been doing with me. I give them all KUDOS because its not an easy task to implement those 5 initiatives. Remember People Don’t Rush (PDR), well with all the good intentions SCiL has, the outside community is slow, reluctant, and doesn’t always see the urgency. Example: You schedule a field trip to one village to meet with some teachers,
or students and at the last minute they cancel. Why? Because they were hungry, and wanted to eat breakfast. A flood will cause schools to be damaged, rice fields to be destroyed, so you want to come in and assist with aid. You need Gov’t approval before you can; however, by that time the people are starving and have to borrow from others to eat. Sadly, a lot of children living in the rural villages, feel that corporal punishment from their parents is a sign of love. Right now, I am learning all this, but I was warned to be prepared for the unexpected when completing case studies and interviews.
I will leave you all with a picture of an uninvited guest who came by to visit me in my apartment on my first day.
Welcome to Laos!