July 13

Tags

My First Impression of Laos

Sába̖ai-di̖i! Welcome Blog-Readers to my first-ever blog!

It’s week 1 in Vientiane, the capital city of Lao PDR (‘funny story I told everyone I was heading to La-o and 2 weeks later my friends YouTube shame me with a ‘how to pronounce Lao-S video’ – I win guys!) known as Laos prior to the Civil/Vietnamese War), and the time I have spent here has been great so far.

I arrived on 6th July 2017, with a whole week having passed and the time I have spent in this beautiful city, I wanted to jot down my first thoughts of the city and share them with you.

Google-able fact 1: Vientiane, the largest city in Lao, is on the banks of the Mekong river which makes the drive through the ‘Mekong’ highway so scenic and beautiful.

Useful Personal fact (UPF) 1: There is a Zumba class by the Mekong everyday for just $2!)

I can’t deny the Dubai-bred city girl that I am, I was initially a bit apprehensive of moving here, but this city has definitely exceeded my expectations in many ways. The overall infrastructure is quite well-maintained with developed roads and pathways, minimum sewage problems and an above-average communication system for a less-developed country (LDC).

Another UPF I’ve observed is (which may or may not change over the course of the time I spend here) gender equality in workplaces. The ratio of women to men in work teams or small shops and markets is fairly equal.

IMG_2303

A woman security guard at the CHAI office

 

This makes me believe and I hope that for a country that is aiming to obtain a well-positioned place on the Human Development Index (HDI) will definitely climb the ladder faster if the change in gender biasedness is incorporated into the economy.

Completely forgot to tell you why I am here (which most of you may already know). I have been placed on a 6-month PULSE assignment by my company, GlaxoSmithKline, to work with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) as a Technical Advisor for access to medicines. The primary objective of this assignment is to increase the availability of medicines at the point of patient care. This includes working with the Ministry of Health (MoH) to strengthen its tendering pool-procurement process and drive an integrated distribution logistics system in 2017 so that it can be effectively and sustainably scaled nationally by 2020.

My work team is a wonderful bunch as they have helped me settle relatively quickly here.

IMG_2302

Eliza and Kai are missing!

I reckon this is just a start to a great experience, substantial learning and self-developing phase, and an immense exposure to the public sector.

P.S – Special thanks to my roommate/colleague – Devon Blaze Cain for piggy-backing me on her bike for week 1 and helping me get through the city with her Lao-speaking skills. Thanks Blaze 😉

Stay tuned for more updates in the upcoming weeks.

Khob Chai!

J.Mo